It’s Your Call February 2021

OSHA: If an employee is exposed to Hepatitis C, how soon after the exposure can infection be detected?

Acute infection is typically detected as early as 1-2 weeks using qualitative nucleic acid tests to determine the presence and levels of HCV RNA.

HIPAA: Can patients be scheduled for COVID-19 vaccinations using an online or web-based scheduling application?

Yes. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) will not impose penalties for violations of the HIPAA rules if covered health care providers or their business associates exercise good faith use of a web-based scheduling application.  Use should be for the limited purpose of scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations during the nationwide public health emergency.  The use of reasonable safeguards to protect the privacy and security of individuals’ protected health information (PHI) is encouraged such as encrypted technology, enabled privacy settings, and using minimum necessary PHI.

The enforcement discretion has a retroactive effective date of December 11, 2020.

OCR Announces Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Use of Online or Web-Based Scheduling Applications for the Scheduling of COVID-19 Vaccination Appointments