Is Inquiring Whether Someone Has Been Vaccinated a HIPAA Violation?

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Is Inquiring Whether Someone Has Been Vaccinated a HIPAA Violation?

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican lawmaker from Georgia, declined to answer a reporter’s question on her COVID vaccination status at a news conference on Tuesday.

Greene was recently suspended from Twitter for promoting false information about COVID immunizations and the disease.

According to CDC guidelines, the lifting of mask mandates in most contexts applies exclusively to fully vaccinated people, therefore her refusal to divulge her immunization status comes at a time when some private firms in the United States are questioning consumers about their vaccine status.

The Complaint

Greene declined to answer a reporter’s question on her vaccination status, claiming it was a “violation of my HIPAA rights.”

“With HIPAA rights, we don’t have to share our medical records, and that includes our immunization records,” she added on July 20.

Greene has previously made similar claims. “Vax records, along with ALL medical information, are private owing to HIPPA rights,” she tweeted in May.

The Details

HIPAA is a federal law that tries to protect citizens’ privacy by limiting the ways in which health information can be shared. It also gives people the right to see their own medical records.

The Privacy Rule is one part of HIPAA. The underlying premise is that entities that are subject to the regulation cannot reveal protected health information (PHI) unless the rule allows it or the protected citizen authorizes it.

Any data that can identify someone and is relevant to an individual’s past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition; the provision of health care to the individual; or payment for the supply of such health care to the individual is considered protected health information.

When determining if Greene’s claim is untrue, there are two factors to evaluate. One is that HIPAA regulations only apply to particular types of health-care organizations, not everyone. Health plan providers and health care providers, as well as their colleagues, are required to follow HIPAA regulations.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, employers, most law enforcement organizations, and most schools are not required to obey HIPAA laws (HHS).

The second reason is that HIPAA places control in the hands of those whose health data is being shared. This is a condensed version of the information.

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