Q. The number of home health agencies has increased, and many have started branding by using magnetic signs on cars or requiring workforce members to wear uniforms or laboratory coats emblazoned with the company’s logo. Is this a HIPAA violation? We heard it may be a violation if the logo directly identifies the type of illness/disease.
A. This isn’t a HIPAA violation. Many healthcare provider organizations (e.g., hospitals and home health agencies) follow the same practice. If the name of the organization reveals the specific diagnoses (e.g., alcohol or chemical dependency, mental illness, or cancer) of the patients it treats, it could be a HIPAA violation if the workforce member parks outside a patient’s home or the employee wearing the name of the organization is easily seen with the patient.
But in regard to home health agency workforce members, this is not the case.
Editor’s note: Chris Apgar, CISSP, answered this question. He is president of Apgar & Associates, LLC, in Portland, OR. He has more than 17 years’ experience in IT and specializes in security compliance, assessments, training, and strategic planning.