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5.7 Collection and Maintenance of Medical and Disability-Related Information


Chapter 5.7.1 Resources

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5.7.1 Collection and Maintenance of Medical and Disability-Related Information

Effective date: July 1, 2020 – DWD-DET strongly recommends that all participant files be reviewed retroactively to comply with local record retention policies but monitoring for this requirement will align with the policy effective date of July 1, 2020.

Any medical or disability-related information obtained about an individual, including information that could lead to the disclosure of a disability, must be collected on separate forms.1 This applies to information collected for purposes of establishing eligibility and to employee personnel files.2

All questions pertaining or alluding to an individual's disability, including the basic, "Do you have a disability, Yes/No" question or disclosures of SSDI as a potential source of income must be asked on a separate form. If ASSET information is printed for the file, such as the Manage Programs attestation printout, DWD-DET requires all disability sections to be redacted before the document is placed in the participant file.

Medical and disability-related information must be maintained in a separate, secure location, such as a locked physical file, or a password-protected electronic record.3 The local WDB must have a policy that includes guidelines for storing information in a manner that ensures this information is kept confidential. Maintaining medical and disability-related information in a sealed envelope in a locked drawer that is different from the location of the participant file would meet this compliance requirement.

Access to the medical file must be limited; only persons in the following categories may be informed about the individual's disability or medical condition and access the medical file:

  • program staff who are responsible for documenting eligibility, where disability is an eligibility criterion for a program or activity;4
  • first aid and safety personnel in the event of an emergency;5
  • local, state, and federal monitors.6

Supervisors, managers, and other necessary personnel may be informed of restrictions on the activities of individuals with disabilities and regarding reasonable accommodations for such individuals but may not have access to information in medical files.7

Medical and disability-related information that is acquired during the delivery of case management services must also be stored securely.8 DWD-DET requires staff to make the ASSET case notes containing information about medical or disability status confidential and redact such information from any paper documents. If any documentation is received and not needed, staff must return the document to the participant, or shred it, after recording any necessary information in a confidential ASSET case note.

DWD-DET recommends that, whenever possible, career planners record relevant information about the effects of an individual's medical impairment, rather than his or her actual medical diagnosis. For example, career planners can record the following information without disclosing an individual's medical or disability-related information:

  • cannot lift more than 20 pounds;
  • cannot sit for more than an hour;
  • must take frequent breaks;
  • will be unavailable during the next six weeks.

Examples of medical/disability information that must be secured separately, include, but are not limited to items such as:

  • pregnant;
  • headaches;
  • depression;
  • addiction;
  • diabetes.

DWD-DET requires that all discussions between career planners and individuals are conducted confidentially. Career planners working with individuals with disabilities must obtain permission from the individual before disclosing information about his or her disability with others. This policy does not limit an individual's voluntary disclosure of medical and disability-related information.


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