Under the policy adopted by Saint Luke's Hospital this week, anyone who applies for a job will be tested for nicotine before they are hired. Potential employees who fail the test are out of luck for at least six months. While the move to not hire tobacco users might make sense from a health care stand point, there are concerns the new rules could be in violation of federal labor law. particular concerns surrounds the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For its part, the Altoona Regional Health System says that a ban on new employees who smoke has not been implemented here and is not on the Medical Center's radar screen. Still other major hospitals are moving in this direction. And the move could lead to substantial savings with lower health care bills for the medical centers involved.
The ban on new employees who smoke will go into effect on may first at Saint Luke's hospital in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. The Cleveland Clinic instituted a similar rule back in September.