By Raetta Holdman

(CBS4) – Colorado has dropped the statewide mask mandate for anyone who is fully vaccinated, leaving businesses to rely on the honor method for unmasked customers. CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida addressed the legality of asking someone their vaccination status during his weekly question and answer session on CBSN Denver.

Many people have a belief that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) prevents businesses from asking about vaccination status. Hnida explained why that is not the case.

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“Hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices cannot give out your health information. Doctors, nurses, people who work in facilities cannot share you health health care information. Health insurance companies, health care clearing houses and so forth cannot share your health care information,” he explained.

He cited an example of someone calling him as a doctor asking about his patient Jane Doe. As her doctor, he could not answer the question “Is Jane Doe vaccinated?”

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“But let’s say, you know Jane Doe. they call you and say ‘Is Jane Doe vaccinated?’ You can tell them whether or not Jane Doe is vaccinated.”

“There is no ‘HIPAA jail’ for people who ask about somebody’s vaccine status, so it’s important to really understand this is a federal (HIPPA) law. There are some states that have laws that do not allow anybody asking this particular question about vaccination. Colorado is not one of them.”

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“In Colorado, anyone can ask you for the information about your vaccination status and will not be breaking the law.”

Raetta Holdman