New HIPAA Guidance from OCR on COVID-19 Vaccines and the Workplace

The U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies Workplace for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued steering relating to the Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) privateness rule (the “Privacy Rule”) in the type of Q&A to help lined entities in figuring out when it’s acceptable to launch or request protected well being info (“PHI”) associated to a person’s COVID-19 vaccination standing.

Particularly, OCR offered sure examples of situations wherein a lined entity could permissibly disclose PHI, together with, with out limitation, the following:

  • A doctor or well being plan disclosure associated to a person’s vaccination standing when required to take action by regulation.

  • A pharmacy disclosure associated to a person’s vaccination standing to a public well being authority (state or native public well being company).

  • A hospital disclosure associated to a person’s vaccination standing to the particular person’s employer in order that an analysis could also be performed regarding medical surveillance in the office if sure situations are met.

Until an exception applies, the Privateness Rule in any other case prohibits a lined entity from disclosing PHI. Accordingly, in situations wherein an exception doesn’t apply, a lined entity disclosure of PHI, together with, with out limitation, the vaccination standing of a person to a 3rd get together (e.g., sports activities enviornment, resort, resort, cruise ship or airline) would require a sound HIPAA authorization or court docket order.

The OCR additionally confirmed that the Privateness Rule typically doesn’t apply to a lined entity or enterprise affiliate of their capability as employers, which is according to the laws and prior pronouncements. Due to this fact, based on the OCR, a lined entity or enterprise affiliate is permitted to require or request its workforce members to:

  • Present documentation of vaccination standing.

  • Signal a HIPAA authorization to reveal a person’s vaccine document to their employer.

  • Put on a masks.

  • Confide in sufferers or future sufferers an worker’s vaccination standing.

Source link