PRIVACY: Doc Wins Right to Keep Disability Confidential
Judge M. Faith Angell has issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Philadelphia-based National Board of Medical Examiners from "flagging" the test scores of a medical student with multiple sclerosis, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The student, named in court documents as "John Doe," graduated from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania Law School and had worked for five years as a lawyer before deciding on a medical career. He then ranked in the top fifth of his medical class. Doe filed a lawsuit against the board after he learned that it would reveal his disability by annotating his test results and disclosing that he was given special accommodations during the test. The judge wrote that Doe's application "may be viewed differently" than other applicants in the "competitive residency" process, and that the board violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. "Doe has established that once identified as a disabled person to the residency and internship programs, his application may viewed differently that it would be without the annotated score," the judge wrote. Doe said he was granted "several accommodations" when he took the first two parts of the three-part licensing exam. The board allowed Doe twice the normal time given to the other test-takers and seated him near a restroom. But the board refused not to disclose that Doe was given special accommodations and that he is physically disabled. Gariel Bevilacqua, the lawyer representing the National Board in the case, argued that the board does not "believe disclosing an 'accommodation' in taking the licensing test hurts the test-takers chances" (Slobodzian, 11/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.