We guard the privacy of patients in my hospital zealously—we take care of a lot of celebrities since we’re right in the shadow of Beverly Hills. And of course we live in terror of HIPAA violations, those federally mandated HHS rules that protect individually identifiable healthcare information and could bring down “civil money penalties” upon us if we don’t keep our patients’ medical records strictly confidential.
But for healthcare workers—physicians, nurses, technicians, even medical supply vendors—in LA County, the usual privacy rules don’t apply any more. Now everybody gets to know at least some of our medical history: whether or not we’ve been vaccinated against influenza.
How will anyone know whether or not I’ve had this year’s flu vaccine? Because policy dictates that I must publicly say so, whether I want to “out” that information or not.