HIPAA and ADA Laws And Mandatory Policies For Face Masks

July 30, 2020
mandatory face mask sign

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McDonald's is the latest business that is now making face masks mandatory when entering their stores. By now, you’ve seen a video or two of anti-maskers stating they cannot wear them for medical reasons and claiming the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) makes it illegal for anyone to ask them why they’re not wearing a mask. Legal experts say that is not how HIPAA works and that indeed government and businesses can inquire why you are not abiding by their face mask policy.  In short, HIPAA states that patients (that’s you) may access your health records, and that “covered entities” such as your hospital or health insurance company cannot share your health records without your consent. But schools, employers, law enforcement agencies, and random people on the street are not bound by HIPAA. It’s a medical records law, and irrelevant to the conversation. For example, if your cousin knows that you’re pregnant and tells your aunt without your consent, that’s not a HIPAA violation. It’s just rude. Other videos claim a medical condition that is covered under The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) means they do not have to wear a mask.  While it is true that some people cannot wear face masks due to a medical condition, it is an abuse of the law that has an effect on people with actual disabilities. However if someone decides to be selfish and claim a medical condition, businesses can still deny entry into their establishment and require you to leave.  The law states that state and local government agencies and businesses can make reasonable modifications to provide goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to an individual with a disability. That means stores can offer for someone else to do your shopping or ordering inside and bring it out to you, provide video or telephone calls for appointments and offer online ordering curbside pick-up or no contact delivery; but still keep you outside of their establishment. In certain circumstances, medical documentation about the person’s disability may be required to confirm the individual meets the ADA definition of disability. That means a government or private business can still deny these modified services if they believe you do meet the criteria and no not have medical proof of your disability! So remember, that you can be denied entry into your favorite store if they require a mask and you choose not to wear one and it is totally legal and not a violation of your privacy or the Constitution.

SOURCE: Lifehacker

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