235410 Matching Medical Claims to Job Title: Targeting Illness/Diseases With Prevention in A NYC Transit Workers Union Project

Monday, October 31, 2011

Frank Goldsmith, DrPH , Transport Workers Union, New York City, NY
Transit workers in New York City are represented by Transport Workers Union, Local 100. They have one employer and there is one negotiated health benefit program which utilizes two insurance carriers. It is next to impossible for occupational health and disease problems to be claimed within the workers' compensation system. This is well known to workers and their unions. Thus 38,000 workers seek remedy for their illnesses and diseases through their negotiated health benefits plan.

Thus, TWU, Local 100 is seeking to determine the pattern of illnesses and diseases through medical scientific experts being allowed to analyze disease patterns via Diagnostic Code information being linked to employee job number and thus with their job titles. [All names are, of course, redacted.]

This information could then be used by trade union officials and activists; epidemiologists; and occupational health physicians to propose prevention strategies.

Employers, public or private, have historically refused this access to medical claims; claiming that they must protect their employees from this kind of intervention. It is time for that barrier to be broken

This area of occupational health could then become a major source of preventing illnesses and diseases which would finally make work-related problems the place where the important goals of NIOSH and OSHA can be achieved.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Assess work-related illnesses in an urban industrial workplace by analysis of insurance carrier medical claims of NYC transit workers.

Keywords: Prevention, Occupational Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Director of Occupational Health, Transport Workers Union, Local 100.Frank Goldsmith, DrPH, Director, Occupational Health, Local 100, Transport Workers Union - 8 years; Retired from State Univ. of NY - Health Policy [27 years]; Dir. Occupational Safety and Health, Teamsters Union 2 years; Executive Board, APHA 1986-89; Permanent Repr to the U.N.-World Federation of Trade Unions; Bd Member, Rekindling Reform [Health].
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.