CWS 3.0: August 28, 2013

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Contingents’ Data Access Is Concern in Marijuana Audit

Mixing confidential data and contingent workers can prompt issues. One example: concerns over temps’ access to sensitive information arose in an audit released earlier this summer of the Colorado Department of Public Health.

The audit covered several topics. And one of those concerns involved contingents’ access to a confidential registry of Colorado residents with “red cards” allowing the use medical marijuana.

“It is not clear whether Public Health was adhering to the Colorado Constitution when it allowed staff of contract firms and other state agencies to access the confidential registry,” according to the report.

It found two problems in particular:

  • Signed confidentiality statements for all staff of contract firms were not maintained.
  • There was inadequate or inconsistent contract management practices to oversee work performance of staff from contract firms, including ensuring those workers maintain confidentiality of the data.

The audit called for more work to ensure the data is confidential — a recommendation with which the department responded that it agreed.

As a note, Colorado voted to legalize medicinal marijuana in 2000. The Department of Public Health used temporary workers from a staffing firm between February 2010 and December 2012 to process high volumes of red card applications. It also used a call center vendor. Medicinal marijuana had been legal for several years, but Colorado also voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use in a November 2012 election.

The Department of Public Health spent $1.5 million on temporary staff for red card applications from fiscal year 2011 through fiscal year 2012, according to the audit.

For more on contingents and confidential information, see “Can You Keep a Secret?” in the January/February 2013 issue of Staffing Industry Review magazine.

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