OPM Postpones Creation of Medical Data Record-Keeping System


12/16/10: Previously, the Union alerted employees to the proposal by OPM to create a new "system of records," known as a Health Claims Data Warehouse. This record-keeping system would include personal information about enrollees in the FEHBP, as well as enrollees in two new insurance programs covering employees in the private sector. 

NTEU submitted comments to OPM on behalf of NTEU in which the Union expressed concern about certain aspects of its proposal. In particular, we requested more information regarding OPM's authority to undertake this initiative, its plans for using the information, the measures to avoid disclosure of personal identifying information, the point at which the data will be "de-identified" for research and analysis, and the precautions that OPM would take to protect the records from unauthorized disclosure.

NTEU is pleased to report that OPM has decided to postpone implementation of the system to allow it to address the concerns raised by NTEU. In a December 15 announcement, OPM stated that it intends to publish a revised systems notice by January 31, 2011. It will provide detailed information in the revised notice regarding OPM's authorities for maintaining the system, the security measures that will be taken to protect the records, and the circumstances under which records will be released.

OPM plans to permit a new comment period after publication of the revised notice. NTEU will examine the new notice very carefully and will submit additional comments if it perceives any continued flaws in OPM's record-keeping procedures.