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Is It Possible to Keep Drug and Alcohol Rehab in PA Confidential from Your Employer?

In This Article

Participating in Pennsylvania drug and alcohol rehab is a challenging process, especially in terms of accepting that you do need recovery help. Once you turn that corner, there are many concerns that can affect how and when you seek treatment. One such concern for many addicts is privacy and keeping their addiction problem from their employers. If a fear that your addiction treatment will negatively impact your career is keeping you from getting the help you need, there are a few reasons you need not worry.

To begin, it’s unlikely that your addiction has gone unnoticed at work. By the time most people need treatment, they have been struggling with their addiction for a considerable amount of time. Your co-workers and supervisors have likely noticed that you have been missing more days of work, or that you’re late more frequently. Additionally, your job performance has probably suffered. In short, your addiction may not be as secret as you believe and sharing your intention to seek treatment with your employer may actually work in your favor. However, if you still believe your need for treatment will negatively impact your career, your right to privacy will be protected.

You Can Choose What You Share And With Whom

One of the things The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does for recovering addicts is to protect their privacy. There are regulations set in place that set restrictions for care facilities and for the staff members working in those treatment centers. This means information cannot be shared with anyone about any patient, except in rare cases. The exceptions generally apply to law enforcement, but only when the patient is involved in a crime that was committed on the premises of the treatment facility. Even then, only pertinent information may be shared. There are similar rules in place when an addict needs medical attention from an outside caregiver.

As far as any Pennsylvania employer is concerned, they will only know what you choose to tell them. They won’t even know that you’re seeking any kind of medical care unless you tell them so. Suppose you do tell your boss that you’re pursuing addiction treatment. Even if you give him the name of the treatment center, he won’t be able to get any additional information from your caregivers. Every aspect of treatment is considered privileged information and it will be up to you to decide what is shared with others.

Reasons You May Want to Confide in Your Pennsylvania Employer

Even though it’s your decision to share information about your situation, you may want to talk to your employer about your treatment plans. First, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers protection against wrongful termination for seeking treatment. You are not protected from being fired for using substances on the job, or allowing substance abuse to impact your job performance. However, the act does prohibit an employer from firing an individual for voluntarily seeking addiction treatment. Under ADA guidelines, addiction is considered a disability, which means you can safely seek treatment without fear of repercussions..

Another reason you may want to consider telling the truth to your Pennsylvania employer is that the Family and Medical Leave Act can apply to your situation. The FMLA rules compel employers to allow each employee to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off for medical reasons, including seeking addiction treatment. If you discuss your situation with your employer, you can apply for time off under the FMLA rules. This can spare you from having to use vacation time for your treatment.

Rehab Rules Protect Each Recovering Addict’s Privacy

So, what happens once you do get to rehab? The other patients aren’t subject to the same laws that govern the staff in regard to keeping your treatment details private, so what keeps them from sharing your information? First of all, remember that each recovering addict is just as concerned with their own privacy. Mutual respect can help keep your details private.

While each Pennsylvania treatment facility enacts its own rules, they all commonly prohibit the use of electronic devices. Although you may not realize it, this is done to ensure everyone’s privacy. Phones, tablets, and other devices have cameras and voice recording capabilities, so those devices are prohibited to protect patient confidentiality. Those rules ensure group therapy sessions and other activities can’t be recorded and shared on social media.

If you have reached a point at which you’re ready to seek addiction treatment, call us at 888-380-0342. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and help you get started with your recovery. A single phone call is all it takes to begin a safe and confidential addiction recovery plan.

Just Believe Recovery is a fully licensed, Joint Commission accredited, comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment center located in Carbondale, Pennsylvania

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