Corporate Compliance

HIPAA Q&A: Flu shot requirement for hospital employees

Compliance Monitor, February 8, 2012

Q: Our healthcare facility is requiring employees to get the flu shot or they will have to wear a mask when within 6 feet of patients. Is this not a violation of employee or patient privacy?

A. The Privacy Rule only protects the privacy of patient, not employees. Requiring non-vaccinated employees to wear a respiratory mask to protect the health of patients does not violate the patient’s privacy and may prevent the spread of infection.

Editor’s note: Mary D. Brandt, MBA, RHIA, CHE, CHPS, vice president of HIM at Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, TX answered this question in the February issue of Briefings on HIPAA. Brandt is a nationally recognized expert on patient privacy, information security, and regulatory compliance, and her publications provided some of the basis for HIPAA’s privacy regulations.
 

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