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Q&A: HIPPA Privacy Rule and COVID

By December 3, 2021December 21st, 2021No Comments

Does the HIPAA privacy rule prohibit an employer from requiring employees to disclose whether they have received a COVID-19 vaccine to the organization, clients, or other parties?

No. The privacy rule doesn’t apply to information the employer keeps in its employment records, in contrast to the details held by the health plan. The rule doesn’t prohibit you from requesting an employee’s vaccination status as part of the terms and conditions of employment. According to HHS, the rules do not prohibit a covered entity or business associate from requiring or asking employees to :

  • Provide documentation of their COVID-19 vaccination to the current or prospective employer;
  • Sign a HIPAA authorization for a covered healthcare provider to disclose their coronavirus vaccination to the employer;
  • Wear a mask while in the employer’s facility or on the premises or in the normal course of performing job duties at another location.

Bottom Line

Although the examples are generally permitted under the privacy rule, you should be aware other federal or state laws may come into play when requiring employees to obtain vaccinations as a condition of employment and covering how you must handle the information. For example, documentation on an employee’s vaccination status must be kept confidential and stored separately from the individual’s other personnel files under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

501(c) Services members have unlimited access to HR Services. Contact us anytime regarding this subject or any other HR situation.

The information contained in this article is not a substitute for legal advice or counsel and has been pulled from multiple sources.

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