Q. I’d like to know if our company needs a HIPAA form for employees to sign when we release personal information to others. Is HIPAA only for the medical field?
A. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) covers individually identifiable health information. Thus, a HIPAA authorization wouldn’t apply to other types of personal information.
As a general rule, you should refrain from releasing employees’ personal information to third parties unless it is legally required or the employee authorizes it. Even when employee authorization is not legally required, disclosing an employee’s personal information without his or her knowledge is likely to upset the affected employee and have a negative impact on employee morale. In some cases, the employee could have a legal cause of action.
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