Sumary of How the HIPAA Law Works:
- As September beckons people back to the office and the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads rapidly across the country, workplaces are navigating a range of challenges, including whether to require employees to be vaccinated or to reimpose mask mandates.
- Some, including Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, are resisting those calls, as she falsely claimed this week that disclosing vaccination status “was a violation of my HIPAA rights,” the federal regulation that protects confidential health information.
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, governs the privacy of a patient’s health records, but it is legal to ask Ms. Greene about her medical history.
- Still, her assertion reflects a misperception that has spread across social media and fringe sites as online misinformation and misstatements about vaccines help fuel a resistance to being inoculated.
- In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law HIPAA, a broad piece of health and privacy legislation that helped update and regulate how health insurance was sold and how personal medical information was stored as electronic processing took hold.
- One aspect of the law, the privacy rule, makes it illegal for certain people and organizations, including health care providers, insurers, clearinghouses that store and manage health data and their business associates, to share a patient’s medical records without the patient’s explicit consent.
- Those parties handle patient health records on a daily basis.
- No. The law applies only to companies and professionals in the health care field, although some people may incorrectly imply otherwise, as Ms. Greene did in suggesting that the measure offered Fifth Amendment-like protection against revealing personal health information.