Apparently NOT a HIPAA Violation to Ask About a Vaccination
Since last Friday, when Governor Walz announced the end to the mask mandate in Minnesota for fully vaccinated people, there has been a sigh of relief for some, and concern for others.
Also, there was the announcement that the MDH wasn't going to require businesses to ask if customers have been vaccinated before entering their business without a mask. They stated that it may cause unwanted behavior at the door to an employee that is just doing their job. And there was/is the belief that asking if someone has had the COVID vaccination was violating HIPAA, which is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
But, it isn't necessarily a HIPAA violation. This statement has been verified by a few sources. One is the CDC, another is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And here is the deal- in short, some businesses can ask if you have had the COVID vaccination. You do not have to answer that question. It's up to every individual to decide if they want to disclose that information or not. But keep in mind, that not answering may come with some consequences. For instance, you might not be able to board a flight, or some other form of travel, or be able to enter a certain business. HIPAA does however, restrict health professionals from disclosing and sharing your health information without your permission. That's why you need to sign a release from one doctor to another when you switch providers or need specific services from medical professionals.
So, no, HIPAA is not being violated by the question of vaccination by most businesses. But will you be asked about it? Probably not.
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