Minnesota health system agrees to stop age-related screenings of older physicians, nurses and NPs


Minneapolis-based Hennepin Healthcare has resolved allegations that it discriminated against its older practitioners by requiring them to undergo age-related screenings, according to a Jan. 7 news release from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The allegations came to light during the federal agency's investigation of the health system under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. At issue in the investigation was a policy Hennepin Healthcare enacted in 2016 to to screen physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners age 70 and older "for cognitive decline that might impact patient care," the health system said in a statement shared with Becker's Hospital Review.

After review of the policy, which Hennepin Healthcare voluntarily eliminated on April 15, both sides reached a conciliation agreement.

The health system said it will pay $1,000 per individual who claims they were affected, in addition to out-of-pocket costs for the cognitive screening. It does not anticipate total settlement costs to exceed $20,000. 

The health system also agreed not to require its older practitioners to undergo medical inquiries that violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act, the commission said. Additionally, Hennepin Healthcare agreed to provide reporting to the EEOC for the next three years of complaints related to age discrimination, unlawful medical inquiries, and/or retaliation related to those complaints.

This story was updated at 6:48 p.m. CST on Jan. 8.


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