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June 22, 1979

Access to Medical Records

Author Affiliations

Detroit Industrial Clinic, PC Detroit

JAMA. 1979;241(25):2701. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290510015008

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To the Editor.—  I have just finished reading a MEDICAL NEWS article (241:777, 1979), and having attended and testified at the hearings in Washington, DC, on the proposed new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations, I believe a major problem this OSHA regulation (or one like it) would generate has been overlooked.The proposed regulation would not only give OSHA the right without other authorization to inspect a company record, but also would give OSHA the right to inspect medical records of an employee, regardless of where the records were kept and by whom.Since more than 90% of the employers in this country each employs fewer than 25 workers, and since only a few of the largest companies have their own medical departments, a preponderance of medical records would be in the hands of private physicians. This would mean that OSHA would have entry without a person's authorization