Confidentiality, Privacy and Security

Disclosing employees COVID 19 staus

  • 1.  Disclosing employees COVID 19 staus

    Posted 7 days ago
    Has anyone run into this issue? An employee tells you they have COVID, can you let other staff know that someone in the department tested positive without disclosing names so that they are aware and take precautions. Would this fall under information obtained as an employer and HIPAA does not apply?

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    Karen Mai
    Director Corporate Compliance and Privacy Officer
    Lafayette General Medical Center
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  • 2.  RE: Disclosing employees COVID 19 staus

    Posted 6 days ago
    First, I would agree that if the employee is sharing the information, it would not be covered by HIPAA.  This is something that has been occurring in my own department with four of us testing positive in the last few weeks.   I have asked each individual for permission to share status with co-workers.  I have not met any resistance to this.   We are doing our best to keep the staff safe - myself included as someone who has been immunocompromised due to breast cancer treatment.   Because we have staff members who have immunocompromised family members at home, it is critical for them to know if they have a possible exposure. I am thankful that the staff has been so open about sharing status.

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    Nancy Davis, MS, RHIA, CHPS
    Director of Compliance & Safety
    Door County Medical Center
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  • 3.  RE: Disclosing employees COVID 19 staus

    Posted 6 days ago
    I would consult HR.  It does not fall under HIPAA in my opinion.

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    Stacey Goodenough
    Manager of Medical Records / Privacy Officer
    Wayne Memorial Hospital
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  • 4.  RE: Disclosing employees COVID 19 staus

    Posted 6 days ago

    For public good, you have to notify co workers and anyone else who may have had contact.  You then need to have those people quarantine and get tested as well.  Your employee health should be able to help coordinate that.

     

    You can do that without giving the name of the infected person..."It has come to our attention that you have recently been in contact with or potentially have been in contact with someone who recently tested positive for COVID.  Please contact employee health for next steps so you can quarantine correctly and possibly be tested.  They will ask you some basic questions about your current symptoms and what to watch for.  They will direct you on what to do next."  Something like that.   I assume your facility has a policy or protocol in place by now so staff who can work remote, can while in quarantine.

     

    Its important to have those exposed tested and quarantined as appropriate right away.

     

    Good luck.

     

    Wil Limp, MS, RHIA

    Manager, HIM

    UW Health – Health Information Management

    8501 Excelsior Drive

    Madison, WI 53717

    WLimp@uwhealth.org

    608-203-4572

     

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