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Physician with HIV+ partner
Nov 18, 2004

I'm a physician, recently hired by a University hospital. My health insurance plan offers same-sex domestic partner benefits. I'm planning to pursue but a bit skeptical about it. There're couple of concerns. 1) My partner is HIV + , but I'm -ve; Is there any possibility that his condition will be disclosed and cause some negative affects on my profession as a physician and frequently perform invasive procedure. 2) It sound stupid, but...if someone know my partner's status, no one can force me to prove of my status for patient's safety. Am I right about this issue?

Response from Ms. Breuer

Everything in your question depends on how the university hospital administers its health plan. Ideally, the plan is run by a third party administrator that gives the employer reports about usage of the plan, but those reports do not link names to the usage. For example, a third party administrator such as Aetna or Blue Cross might run your employer's health plan and would submit periodic reports on types/costs of prescription meds or number of X-rays paid, but those reports would not contain employees' names.

That is typical of large employers. If it is true of your situation, then the third party administrator is bound by confidentiality laws from disclosing your partner's diagnosis to your employer.

As to being forced to prove your status: hospitals set and follow their own rules concerning bloodborne pathogens and invasive procedures. If they require disclosure of HIV or hepatitis, it's required of everyone performing invasive procedures. Normally, it's a rule about disclosing the presence of the pathogen, not the absence of it. I've never seen a physician asked to prove that s/he is negative.



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