Financial Resources

FREQUENTLY ASKED LEGAL QUESTIONS REGARDING COVID-19

Financial Impact Mitigation

HOPE Loans information

Financial & Legal Questions, Contact Tracing

What are the HHS Relief funds?

How do I report a business that is violating the Governor’s Safe Start Proclamation?

Contact Tracing

What exactly is Contact Tracing?

What is recommended if I am contacted by a contact tracer?

If a contact tracer contacts me regarding an exposed patient or member, am I obligated to disclose affected patient or staff names? Isn’t this a HIPAA violation?

Question: If we learn of a patient’s diagnosis since being seen in our office, what is our obligation re: contact tracing?

Is there an easy-to-read sign I can post about Contact Tracing?

Financial & Legal Questions, Contact Tracing

What are the HHS Relief funds?

Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) participating doctors of optometry who missed out on coronavirus-related relief funds may be eligible for additional relief payments, as the AOA continues to push for greater support and review of federal crisis relief measures. More information here.

How do I report a business that is violating the Governor’s Safe Start Proclamation?

Contact Tracing

What exactly is Contact Tracing?

Contact tracing is an evidence-based way to slow the spread of infectious disease by identifying people who have been exposed to someone contagious.

Case Interviewers will contact the exposed person and try to determine where they contracted the virus, their infectious period and who they may have the spread infection to. They provide guidance on infection protocols and connect persons with sources of social and medical support.

Contact Interviewers notify persons about their exposure to a case, assess symptoms, provide guidance on public health recommendations and requirements for quarantine protocols, and connect contacts with social and medical support.

Tracers who may contact you will ask for patient demographics including gender, race and ethnicity. “If you are a clinical provider ordering a lab test or entering other data into your electronic medical record that may come to public health as a case report, please ensure you provide all the patient contact information and demographics (name, date of birth, gender, race, ethnicity, full address, phone number).”

What is recommended if I am contacted by a contact tracer?

This is the quarantine advice for the general public who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Stay home for 14 days from last exposure with at least 6 feet from others at all times. Self monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and take body temperature in the morning and in the evening. Follow local and state health department advice. Asymptomatic negative cases or those not tested yet that had close contacts with a COVID-19 case should self quarantine for 14 days.

Here is the advice for health care providers who may have been exposed.

If a contact tracer contacts me regarding an exposed patient or member, am I obligated to disclose affected patient or staff names? Isn’t this a HIPAA violation?

  • Disclosing potential contacts to a contact tracer is NOT a HIPAA violation.

  • According to the WA State Department of Health, information is stored in secured databases and DOH workers are carefully screened and sign strict confidentiality agreements.

    Question: If we learn of a patient’s diagnosis since being seen in our office, what is our obligation re: contact tracing?

  • Answer: Gov. Inslee recently announced launching a robust contact tracing program in Washington state. This is the reporting form used by DOH for contact tracing. If a patient identifies your office as a location he/she recently visited prior to testing, investigators at DOH will want to know exact times the COVID patient was on the premises and other patients/workers that may have been exposed. Practitioners may consider utilizing a sign-in/sign-out log to document patron and employee presence. This information is gathered by public health officials and not distributed or available for any other use.

Is there an easy-to-read sign I can post about Contact Tracing?

Here is an Infographic on contact tracing from WA DOH

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