Annual physical checkup: what if one wants to opt out for privacy
May 10, 2015 11:09 AM   Subscribe

A similar question to this one, w/ a different country context. How does one officially "refuse" their annual physical if the checkup and data sharing appears more mandatory than voluntary?

Additional context:
1. I work at an international company at their Tokyo branch.
2. Each employee's status (Checkup done, scheduled for date X, no show/rescheduled etc. for year Y) is visible to their supervisors/bosses. As such, individuals can be named and reprimanded for not taking their health exams. I know of something similar actually happening to a coworker, though we believe the intention for this case was probably benign.
3. My employer's online resources explicitly state something to the effect that company doctor appointments may be scheduled for us based on exam results. So it's unclear our exam results will not automatically be shared w/ my employer.

I would like to ensure that my medical data does not get in my employers' hands, unless they are accessing the aggregated data w/o access to employee/individual level records. How do I opt out of the checkup while we help make this happen?
posted by macbookair to Work & Money (3 answers total)
I believe my employer will accept a checkup from a personal doctor (at the employee's expense) if the doctor writes a summary letter reporting accomplishment. You'd have to check with your company's medical department what they would need that letter to say specifically.

They don't do the checkups for your benefit, they do it so they can have assurance (read: legal evidence if you sue them) that your job is not damaging your health and that you are physically capable of doing what they ask you to do. So, as an example, I was at one time in a job where I could be exposed to lead. I had to get a periodic blood test for lead, provided by the clinic at work. They would have also accepted a private blood test that certified no evidence of lead exposure, without telling them what ELSE my blood test showed.
posted by ctmf at 11:23 AM on May 10, 2015

If they do allow you to do the checkup at any location, and you are able to get it done in the USA (not sure whether you have reason to travel here during the time before you need your appointment done) then you'd be protected by HIPAA law in terms of your physician not being allowed to share anything with your employer.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:08 PM on May 10, 2015

This sounds a little odd. Is this a general GP preventative check up? In which case I don't really understand how your boss knows if you've been to see your own GP or not unless they get access to your whole medical insurance record anyhow...

This sounds much more like a company occupational health review, in which case attending is likely to be a condition of your ongoing employment to ensure you are fit to do the job, and yes your boss may well see the report - certainly HR will be able to see it, that is the whole point. It is for the company's benefit, not yours. The consequences of not going in my profession are termination of employment, YMMV.

Certain jobs in the UK have this requirement (anything involving HGVs or machinery, chemical or radiation work, medical and nursing fields, police and armed services, etc). Check your contract - does it mention this at all?
posted by tinkletown at 4:50 AM on May 11, 2015

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