If you do not want to get vaccinated against Coronavirus, then you are not alone. There are plenty of anti-vaxxers worldwide who are either scared of the side effects of the vaccination or who do not believe in the disease in general. Whether you agree with them or not, everyone has their own opinion. However, when it comes to employers and employees, you will have to disclose IF you are not vaccinated – here’s why.
Those who do not want to disclose their personal medical information to other healthcare providers are absolutely in the right. Federal laws make it illegal for health entities to disclose your personal information to other healthcare providers without your consent. Along with this, your information must be safeguarded against potential security breaches.
However, this federal law only applies to the healthcare industry. Let’s see why it is NOT illegal for businesses to ask about your vaccination status.
What is HIPAA?
The first question would be, what is HIPAA? HIPAA is an important rule and legal law in the medical field. Without this law, your personal patient information could be spread to other entities who would know your test results, diagnoses, and other confidential data that is sacred to you and your doctor. Even though many people have heard of HIPAA at least once in their lifetime, they may be confused about what it really means, what it stands for, and who is covered under the scope of HIPAA.
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This federal law requires the entire nation to have a set of standards regarding the privacy of patient information in the medical field. This law prevents having private and confidential patient information from being said to other people, whether in the medical field or not, without previous consent and knowledge from the patient.
The Center for Disease Control is good at explaining the rules of this act and the benefits of HIPAA, stating this law has various subsets – the Privacy Rule and the Security Rule.
HIPAA Privacy Rule
The HIPAA Privacy Rule is a subset of HIPAA, ensuring covered entities cannot disclose private information to other people about a patient who has not given consent. These ‘covered entities’ must understand how private patient’s rights and health information should be secured.
The Privacy Rule is basically what most patients are concerned with regarding doctor-patient confidentiality and healthcare breaches. This rule addresses disclosing your health information to other entities that must also follow the same privacy rule. These covered entities include health plans, clearinghouses, and healthcare providers.
In addition, the Privacy Rule sets standards to ensure each person understands and controls how your information is stored, used, and transmitted. The overarching goal of the Privacy Rule is to make sure your information is appropriately stored to prevent security breaches and leaks and allow for health information to give patients the proper care.
The Privacy rule ensures all patients are provided with the optimal care needed for their specific condition. Sometimes, your health information must be transferred between businesses, like if one hospital cannot give you the necessary treatment to make you better or perform the required surgery. In this case, HIPAA allows for the transfer of secure information to another entity so they can help you receive the best care and maintain your well-being.
What does HIPAA really do?
Now that you know what HIPAA is and what it entails, you may be wondering – what does HIPAA actually do for patients and the medical field? In short, HIPAA protects your personal patient health information care under some instances and situations – with the keyword here being “some”.
HIPAA is essential because it helps keep our medical information private between healthcare professionals. It prevents you from having your doctor tell your new boss that they should consider not hiring you because of a chronic illness, but it does not prevent you from telling the truth to your boss when asked a question about vaccinations or health conditions.
Can businesses ask about a Covid vaccine?
According to Health.com, asking someone about their Covid-19 vaccination status is not a HIPAA Violation. Although asking someone if they have received a vaccine or not can be a touchy subject, especially if you’re talking to a devout anti-masker or anti-vaxxer, this is not unlawful or illegal in the scope of HIPAA.
While some people are happy to talk about their vaccination experience or their status on whether they believe vaccinations are worth it or dangerous to the body, some people are not closed off. However, that’s okay – everyone is entitled to their freedom of speech and the ability to reveal their personal information at their own speed.
However, choosing not to disclose personal medical information is not considered legal under HIPAA laws if the person asking you is not in the medical field. If you are requested your vaccination status by a potential employer, like at a restaurant, bar, cinema, retail store, or other non-medical entity, your refusal to answer their Covid-19 vaccination question is not covered under HIPAA.
If you are concerned about your vaccination status or do not enjoy getting in conversations about the recent pandemic, you are not alone; thousands of people worldwide get nervous disclosing whether they have had Covid-19 and recovered or whether they want to get the Covid vaccine to safeguard their health.
For many reasons, some people don’t want to get vaccinated. Although everyone is entitled to their own opinion, this does not mean that employers are prevented from legally asking you questions regarding your medical health and status. Businesses are allowed to ask potential employees and current employees their vaccination status to keep their workers healthy and protected.
In fact, many people think it is unlawful for employers to NOT ask about vaccination status. To keep others in the store healthy and safe, such as the staff and clients, you need to make sure all the workers are vaccinated or wearing protective equipment at all times. However, even when wearing face coverings, you can still catch Covid-19 and transmit the disease.
Therefore, the safest way to keep everyone Covid free is to get vaccinated. If you want to be hired in today’s economy, getting the Covid-19 vaccine is one of the easiest ways to beat out others in the job market by answering the vaccination status when it comes to you.