Missoulian: Respect troops’ mental health: Defense contractor must answer on claims of limited care, requests to violate HIPAA

“If you are a soldier or in a soldier’s family, this means you can no longer be counseled for these conditions, even though all military websites refer all soldiers to Ceridian MilitaryOne Source counselors for these exact issues,” Stube explained. “The websites neglect to tell the soldiers that the counselors have agreed to not treat PTSD, depression, addiction issues and problems with dangerous angry behavior.”

That’s cause enough for concern, but incredibly, the letter also included a form for counselors to sign that would waive client confidentiality.

“… if the counselor does not post their clinical notes after each session on the Ceridian website within three days after seeing the soldier, the counselor will not be paid,” Stube said.

That’s absolutely outrageous. To require counselors to send the private details of their treatment sessions – via email, no less – to some unknown, unnamed employee of a large company with offices located in several different countries, is directly counter to the right of privacy spelled out in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA.

Clearly, Ceridian has some explaining to do; however, so far it has provided only vague and exceedingly obtuse explanations. Of course, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has yet to receive any answer at all to the letter he sent to Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

In that letter, Tester asked Gates to clarify the reasoning behind Ceridian’s policy changes, which Tester went on to describe as “unreasonable and counterproductive.”

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