Can businesses request proof of COVID-19 vaccination? Experts Explain HIPAA –

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Can businesses request proof of COVID-19 vaccination? Experts Explain HIPAA – fr


As the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign continues and workplaces navigate reopening, some question whether businesses and employers can request proof of vaccination given life protection laws patient privacy, like HIPAA.

Experts told FOX Business that employers and businesses can legally request proof of COVID-19 vaccine status.

“The reason is simple: HIPAA gives us all the assurance that our health care providers – doctors, dentists, nurses, psychologists, etc. – as well as our health care insurers, will respect our privacy without developer information about our health without our knowledge and without our consent, ”said Eric Feldman, JD, Ph.D., professor of medical ethics, health policy and human rights law. University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, in a statement.

“HIPAA does not prohibit businesses or employers from request health information, including information on immunization status. ”

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HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 1996, is federal law designed to protect patient health information. Feldman explains that HIPAA specifically regulates healthcare providers, pharmacies, and insurers, while businesses and employers fall outside the scope of the law.

“It is also unlikely that companies and employers who reveal individual health information will violate HIPAA because they are not ‘covered entities’ under the law,” Feldman said, later adding , “There are other state and federal laws that can prohibit businesses and employers. share personal health information. Violation of these laws does not mean that there has been a violation of HIPAA law. “

According to Margaret Riley, professor of law at the University of Virginia, “Businesses are free to set any rules they wish to protect their other customers and employees. A business that may have particularly vulnerable employees or customers may choose to enforce stricter rules, including requiring proof of vaccination. “

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However, Riley doubts most businesses, like retail, require proof of vaccination.

“They are much more likely to use an ‘honor system’,” she said. “Such an honor system can take the form of a statement that customers who have been fully immunized can enter the premises without a mask, while unvaccinated customers are expected to wear masks. No one will actually ask for proof because it’s hard to do. Even people who have been vaccinated may not have this proof with them by the time they come into the business. “

But businesses with an increased risk of transmission (like gyms, where customers breathe heavily for extended periods of time) may request proof of vaccination, Riley said.

Still, people don’t have a legal obligation to share information they consider private, including vaccine status, experts said.

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“Failure to disclose this information, however, is likely to have consequences such as being denied permission to enter a private business or workplace,” Feldman wrote, adding that the guidelines for The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on COVID-19 and the Workplace provides additional insurance for employers.

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