OCR issues guidelines on HIPAA, COVID-19 vaccinations and the workplace

Today, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance to help the public understand when the privacy rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) applies to disclosures and requests for information as to whether a person has received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The guidelines remind the public that the HIPAA privacy rule does not apply to employers or employment records. This is because the HIPAA privacy rule only applies to entities covered by HIPAA (healthcare plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and healthcare providers that perform standard electronic transactions) and, in some case, to their business associates.

Today’s tips cover common workplace scenarios and answer questions about the application and how the HIPAA privacy rule applies. This information will be useful to the public as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are publishing this guide to help consumers, businesses and healthcare entities understand when HIPAA applies to COVID-19 vaccination status disclosures and to make sure they have the information they need. to make informed decisions about protecting yourself and others from COVID-19, “said Lisa Pino, director of OCR.

Guidelines on HIPAA, COVID-19 vaccinations and the workplace are available at https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/guidance/hipaa-covid-19-vaccination-workplace /index.html.

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