How HIPAA Applies to Employers

Hey, everyone. It’s Paul Simon with the law firm of Simon Paschal, and today’s video, we are going to talk about how HIPAA applies to employers. The general question that we get from employers is what healthcare information am I allowed to ask employees regarding medical leave, reasonable accommodation, and when I receive an employee’s health care information, what responsibilities under HIPAA do I have to maintain the confidentiality?

Now, generally, the answer to that is HIPAA does not apply to employers and the reason for that is under HIPAA, covered entities are who have to follow the HIPAA requirements and a covered entity is defined as a health care plan, a healthcare provider, or a healthcare clearinghouse. Now, there are times where an employer may meet one of those three covered entities. A common example would be a hospital. They are both a healthcare provider and an employer, but if you aren’t a covered entity, then you do not have to follow the requirements of HIPAA.

Now, that does not mean as an employer that you don’t fall under some other law when you’re requesting healthcare information, medical information, and how to maintain that. There are laws like the ADA and GINA that both have certain requirements on what you are allowed to ask. So that’s our tip for today is when you’re looking at healthcare information related to an employee, don’t go and think about HIPAA and what are those requirements, but take a look at things like the ADA and GINA. Thank you.


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