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Violation of HIPAA?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Isn't wearing a mask instead of getting a flu shot kind of signal to people about your medical status, and therefore a violation of hippa, because it's announcing it to everyone?  Isn't vaccination a medical procedure? Or is there no confidentiality laws when it comes to flu shots/employment per employer? 


Edited by emmy526 - 12/7/12 at 5:30am
post #2 of 19
Unless the mask has a sign that says "I'm wearing this because I refused to get a flu shot" there is really no way for people to know why a medical professional is wearing a mask. Could be for any of a number of reasons.
post #3 of 19

Seriously?  shake.gif

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

i saw this question posted somewhere else and it got me to thinking.....yes, seriously. 

post #5 of 19
Whenever I have a cold, I wear a mask. I never worried that my health care privacy was being violated.

If a patient has active TB, should we not make them wear a respirator mask to protect their privacy? Those TB masks a very distinctive looking, and unlike a regular surgical mask are pretty much only used for patients with TB. HIPAA violation?
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

 along with that,  then those on oxygen and carry oxygen tanks are announcing their medical status too...yeah i see your point in how people's medical status' can be an outright judgment based on looks.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildKingdom View Post

Whenever I have a cold, I wear a mask. I never worried that my health care privacy was being violated.
If a patient has active TB, should we not make them wear a respirator mask to protect their privacy? Those TB masks a very distinctive looking, and unlike a regular surgical mask are pretty much only used for patients with TB. HIPAA violation?
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildKingdom View Post

Whenever I have a cold, I wear a mask. I never worried that my health care privacy was being violated.
If a patient has active TB, should we not make them wear a respirator mask to protect their privacy? Those TB masks a very distinctive looking, and unlike a regular surgical mask are pretty much only used for patients with TB. HIPAA violation?


The obvious difference is that a patient with active TB presents an active risk to others, while a non-vaccinated person does not. 

post #8 of 19
dbl post

Edited by kathymuggle - 10/19/12 at 6:22pm
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by emma1325 View Post


The obvious difference is that a patient with active TB presents an active risk to others, while a non-vaccinated person does not. 

Agreed.

 

The Cochrane review does not paint a pretty picture about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.  

 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001269.pub4/abstract

 

"Over 200 viruses cause influenza and influenza-like illness which produce the same symptoms ....At best, vaccines might be effective against only influenza A and B, which represent about 10% of all circulating viruses….

 

In the relatively uncommon circumstance of vaccine matching the viral circulating strain and high circulation, 4% of unvaccinated people versus 1% of vaccinated people developed influenza symptoms (risk difference (RD) 3%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2% to 5%). The corresponding figures for poor vaccine matching were 2% and 1% (RD 1, 95% CI 0% to 3%). "

They also said this:

"there is no evidence that they [vaccines] affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission."

I don't think the numbers are adding up to non-vaxxing nurses needing to wear a mask.

I have no real issues about wearing a mask from a confidentiality POV, if the science strongly points to the necessity…I am just not sure it does. 


Edited by kathymuggle - 10/19/12 at 6:22pm
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

OT  of hippa...but here are two  articles from the same science digest that i found

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Children Who Get Flu Vaccine Have Three Times Risk Of Hospitalization For Flu, Study Suggests

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519172045.htm


Edited by emmy526 - 10/20/12 at 4:36am
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

so, i found out the hospital has required employees who didn't get the flu vaccine, to wear a yellow sticker on their name tag, indicating to every other staff member, that person did not get a flu shot.  

post #12 of 19
Moving to Vax Discussion since this forum is supposed to be closed to new posts under our new forum organization. I still have some kinks to work out. redface.gif
post #13 of 19

It's HIPAA, not HIPPA.

 

And it applies to confidentiality between healthcare providers and patients, not employers and employees.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

It's HIPAA, not HIPPA.

 

And it applies to confidentiality between healthcare providers and patients, not employers and employees.

Thanks for the clarification.

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmy526 View Post

so, i found out the hospital has required employees who didn't get the flu vaccine, to wear a yellow sticker on their name tag, indicating to every other staff member, that person did not get a flu shot.  

They should wear their own sticker underneath:

 

Chance of getting the flu if unvaxxed 1-4%

chance of getting the flu if vaxxed :1%

Source:  cochrane Review

 

That being said, I wonder if they are shooting themselves in the foot.

 

I read this article which states the flu vax rate among health care professionals was 60%.  If 4/10 people are going around wearing stickers on their nametags, I doubt peer pressure is going to incite them to get a vaccine.  They will probably just blend it.    

 

The article states that US research shows imposing rules brings the the vax rate up to 80-90%.

 

http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20121205/KAMLOOPS0101/121209954/-1/kamloops01/flu-shot-requirement-relaxed

 

The thing is - this is not the USA.  This is Canada, we have a nurses shortage, they are government employees….I don't think this is going to pan out the way they expect it to.  

 

Most patients won't notice the stickers, some will and think "good for them!"  (the flu shot is not overly popular) and some will be annoyed.  They may even ask to switch nurses - which will be an administrative headache, but will not affect the nurse as she did nothing wrong.

 

I think pushing the issue probably made a small amount of fence sitters dig their feet in, when they might have been convinced to vaccinate.  I doubt having to wear a yellow sticker will change the minds of those whose minds are made up.

post #16 of 19

I read this from CBC - which said there is a one year reprieve on masks and stickers:

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/11/30/bc-flu-shots-nurses.html

 

"The union representing B.C.'s nurses says members won't be forced to wear masks and stickers if they're not vaccinated against the flu."

 

Nov. 30th, 2012

 

 

Major props to those (BC nurses union is one player) who took on the flu-vaccine machine and won!  thumbsup.gif


Edited by kathymuggle - 12/7/12 at 5:50am
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post

It's HIPAA, not HIPPA.

And it applies to confidentiality between healthcare providers and patients, not employers and employees.

In this article, attorney and HIPAA specialist Abner Weintraub disagrees:
http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-7325-behind-the-mask.html

"I would say it appears to be a HIPAA violation."

"...the law doesn't distinguish between the hospital's employees and the hospital's patients when it comes to what's allowable to disclose."
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildKingdom View Post

Whenever I have a cold, I wear a mask. I never worried that my health care privacy was being violated.
If a patient has active TB, should we not make them wear a respirator mask to protect their privacy? Those TB masks a very distinctive looking, and unlike a regular surgical mask are pretty much only used for patients with TB. HIPAA violation?

This is very different from asking healthy person who refused an unnecessary, invasive procedure to wear a mask, particularly when the Cochrane review concluded that  there is no evidence that giving a flu shot to health care workers protects the patient, anyway.

post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taximom5 View Post

This is very different from asking healthy person who refused an unnecessary, invasive procedure to wear a mask, particularly when the Cochrane review concluded that  there is no evidence that giving a flu shot to health care workers protects the patient, anyway.
No. We're purely talking about HIPAA violations here. There's not some sort of morality clause in it.
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