Communicable Disease Policy
This Policy outlines the principles Western New England University (WNE) will follow to protect patients, students, faculty and staff, whenever possible, from exposure to certain communicable illnesses such as tuberculosis, meningitis, measles, etc. This policy will apply university-wide.
It is the policy of WNE Health Services to review, evaluate and respond on an individual case-by-case basis, when possible, to any known suspected or confirmed instances of certain communicable illnesses among members of the WNE community which may be transmitted in a normal business, academic, recreational, housing, or patient care setting. Such individual review, evaluation, and response should take into consideration applicable federal and state laws; the recommendations of the U.S. Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control, the American College Health Associations, and various professional associations; other relevant medical, scientific and legal literature; the expressed desires and opinions of the individual with such illness, the individual's personal health care provider; the university's commitment for the protection of the community at large, to the extent possible of both public heath and individual rights.
WNE recognizes that employees with any suspected or confirmed communicable illness may wish to continue their employment. As long as they are able to meet acceptable performance standards, and the medical evidence indicates that their conditions are not a threat to themselves or others, it is the policy of WNE that these employees be treated consistently with other employees in matters of employment. All members of the WNE community will be evaluated on a case-by case basis, when possible, to determine what if any restrictions apply, given the type of illness, the individual's health status and the nature of work or work setting, among other relevant factors. In the setting of a large epidemic or pandemic, the case-by case evaluation may not be possible and broad restrictions may be implemented.
WNE will address issues involving communicable illnesses in a sensitive and responsible manner, with concern for the rights and welfare of patients, faculty, staff and students.
Medical Records and Confidentiality. If a patient has a suspected or confirmed communicable illness, this information should be included in the patient's medical record if evaluated in Health Services. Medical record results should contain only objective information that is relevant to the patient's care and treatment. The patient's medical record must be afforded the same confidentiality protections that WNE affords other medical records. Care should be taken to ensure that the patient's medical record is not disclosed to others except as required or permitted by law or as authorized in writing by the patient. All medical records and the patient information therein must be handled in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).
Medical Care. Any member of the WNE community who believes he or she has contracted a communicable illness that may be transmitted should contact Health Services to report the symptoms or illness. Individuals with suspected or confirmed communicable illnesses are encouraged to seek proper medical care, counseling, and education. Faculty, staff and students should look primarily to their personal health care provider for appropriate medical care and counseling. Any WNE employee or student with a suspected or confirmed communicable illness who is experiencing difficulty in obtaining expert medical care and counseling is encouraged to seek assistance from Health Services.
Each department head shall be responsible for understanding and implementing this policy.