Does HIPAA Govern Vaccination Verification at Events?

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Despite any objections that attendees might have, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) does not govern vaccination proof for events.

On its Event Planning web page, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidance about HIPAA as it relates to requiring proof of vaccination status from attendees at events. Among the advice:

Event Planners Are Not Subject to HIPAA

“HIPAA ensures a patient’s health information is properly protected while allowing the flow of health information needed to provide high-quality care and to protect public well-being,” says the CDC. “HIPAA applies only to covered entities (healthcare providers, healthcare plans) that conduct or engage in certain electronic transactions. Most event organizers would not fall into the category of a covered entity as defined under the statute.”

Other Laws Might Apply

However, event organizers must obey all applicable local, state, tribal and territorial laws, regulations and rules as they consider whether to confirm COVID-19 vaccination status, according to the CDC.

Corporate Events Fall Under A Different Umbrella

Employers can require that their workers be vaccinated, and that includes at their meetings. In the largest-yet such action to date, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has mandated that 185,000 private businesses require that employees show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination and follow up about the second dose.

Seek Legal Help

As always, the best course of action to take is to verify your decision to require vaccination with legal counsel.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.