INDIANAPOLIS — There is a lot of excitement over the new CDC guidance for vaccinated people to be able to go unmasked indoors and out.
But there is also concern over whether you should have to prove vaccination if a business asks for it.
Viewers have sent questions to 13News wondering about the legality of such requests and if asking for someone's vaccination history is a violation of HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
That question isn’t new to Neal Eggeson, an Indianapolis attorney specializing in medical privacy. He says HIPAA, a federal law regulating the release of medical information, is often misquoted and misunderstood.
“It is important for people to understand, HIPAA applies to healthcare providers. It does not create this universal rule where everybody has to keep everyone else’s healthcare information private,” said Eggeson.
There’s nothing stopping a business from asking a customer to provide their vaccination details. It’s already common practice.
“Any of us who are a parent of a school-aged children are accustomed to the rule that you have to be able to prove that your kids are vaccinated,” said Eggeson. “Or if you have ever had to prove that you’re vaccinated against yellow fever before you can travel to other countries.”
However, it doesn’t mean you have to hand over your vaccination record.
“If you are uncomfortable sharing information like that, there is no law that requires you to just don’t go to that ballpark; just don’t go into that Walmart; just don’t go onto that flight. You, as a private citizen, have the freedom to make that decision for yourself. Just like they, as a private business, have the freedom to make it for themselves,” said Eggeson.