Saturday, August 8, 2020
Health

Does HIPAA Protect People From Being Asked About Masks?

Does HIPAA Protect People From Being Asked About Masks?
2views


Illustration for article titled HIPAA Doesnt Mean You Cant Ask People Why They Arent Wearing a Mask

Photo: Nelson Antoine (Shutterstock)

The law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is hugely misunderstood. And the latest people to misunderstand it are anti-maskers who claim that it’s illegal to ask them why they’re not wearing a mask. That’s not how the law works. That’s not how any of this works.

HIPAA states that patients (that’s you) may access your health records, and that “covered entities” such as your hospital or health insurance company cannot share your health records without your consent.

Schools, employers, law enforcement agencies, and random people on the street are not bound by HIPAA. If your cousin knows that you’re pregnant and tells your aunt without your consent, that’s not a HIPAA violation. It’s just rude.

If somebody wonders why you’re not wearing a mask, it’s not a HIPAA violation to ask. HIPAA also says nothing about whether or how you answer. It’s a medical records law, and irrelevant to the conversation.

In fact, if you are asking to enter a store maskless as an accommodation for a disability, the people at the store may ask you for documentation of your disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act applies here.

All that said, you should not hassle people who you believe to have health problems, or who you believe are making up their health problems. Plenty of disabled people have had enough of others questioning their status, and I can’t blame them.

Jerks who simply don’t feel like wearing a mask are ruining things for everyone else by casting doubts on people with legitimate health problems. But just for the record, neither HIPAA nor any other law stops you from talking to them about it.



Source link

Leave a Response