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poz dr. returning to practice
Jul 2, 2003

Hello, i am a poz physician...i finished residency approx 3 yrs ago and did not enter workforce...i had COBRA for 18 months(i think) after finishing residency (no treatment prior to finishing residency) but it ran out...however, i found out i was covered by VA (because i went to school under military but was dx'd and discharged just as i was about to begin military residency).....so i started using the VA health benefits for care/meds and have been using for about 2 yrs...now i am about to return to practice and the physician i am joining offers group health ins...i would like to join it (although my VA is still active) so i could possibly return to the private physician i had before COBRA ran out (he treated me briefly after finishing residency and got my VL to undetectable)...BUT, i am concerned about my future employer learning of my status....so, 1) can i join a group plan like this? should i "risk" it? 2)will the time i've been on VA coverage count as a "break" in coverage after COBRA and prevent joining group plan 3) might the physician i'm going to be working for learn of my status whenever i start using the group ins??? (i am in primary care not surgery) Also, any other resources you may know of for healthcare professionals in my situation would help lots!! I feel very isolated.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

If the physician group you are going to work for is a small group with a small group health plan, the possibility of the physician group learning of your HIV status exists. Although the laws are in place under HIPAA to prevent this information from being disclosed, there are the laws and the pracitcality of what often occurs. I cannot guarantee that your new employer won't find out. Your VA coverage would count but you will need to get a certificate of creditable coverage from them.



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