Home Health

Employee vaccine status not a HIPAA issue, but other rules still apply

A home health agency is allowed to ask whether its employees are vaccinated.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) provided this guidance, particularly singling out home health agencies as an example, in a broader Q&A on employee vaccination status and HIPAA guardrails, released September 30.

The HHS guidance notes that the HIPAA privacy rule does not apply to employment records or an employer’s conditions of employment, including when an agency is requesting a staff member’s vaccination status. 

Federal guidance has made it clear that employers can request to see an employee’s vaccination card. Where employers can run afoul of the ADA is when they start asking questions about why an employee has not produced a vaccine card, potentially leading the employee to share medical information.