COVID-19 Vaccines | Best Practices for Employers Looking to Track Employee Status

Vaccine Status – it’s a hot topic right now. The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to rage on, elevating safety concerns for employers across all industries. As employers navigate the waters of whether or not to track employees’ vaccine statuses, a secondary issue is also at play –

HOW should employers track vaccine status?

From a technology perspective, the options to track vaccine status are seemingly endless. BTR has a few best practices you should consider if you opt to track vaccine status in your technology.

  • Many technology and software providers likely will not be configuring a field in their systems for Vaccine Status. This is mostly due to the (hopefully) temporary nature of the pandemic, but also because the ethics and necessity of tracking private health information (PHI) is still being hotly debated. If you do need a field in your technology for tracking Vaccine Status, speak with your technology partner about their ability to add a custom demographic field.
  • Tread cautiously with how rate differentials or premium credits are applied based on an employee’s vaccine status. Aside from the need for non-discrimination and appropriate due diligence with your legal counsel, be sure you track the status in a system that can handle the data field securely and privately. For example, if you are going to offer a medical premium credit for employees with the vaccine, a special code will have to be included on a demographic file from payroll to your benefits technology – so be sure the data file is processed through a secure channel, like an SFTP.
  • Speaking of security: employers should keep in mind what users have permission and access to secure employee data. Do only designated administrators have the appropriate, locked-down access to this sort of PHI? Have a specific procedure in place for any types of security breaches for any and all documentation, data, communications, or other Vaccine Status information. Make sure you understand your technology vendor’s security protocols as well.

All in all, employers are doing what they can to maintain safety for their organization, and that can be a good thing when the considerations for privacy and security are maintained effectively.

 

Please note: BTR is in no way providing medical advice or guidance on the COVID-19 vaccine or any vaccine or medical diagnosis. If you have questions about whether or not a vaccine is right for you, please consult your physician or go to www.cdc.gov/vaccines for more information. Additionally, BTR is not positioned to provide legal advice in any manner, so please consult your ERISA or legal counsel before moving forward with vaccine tracking.

 

About the Author

Holli Brummett supports the Strategic Initiatives team as Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, focusing on new opportunities and business development for the BTR Extend Division. Holli brings to the team several years of Benefits Administration experience on multiple systems, working with broker teams as well as employers across many industries, including manufacturing, school districts, hospital systems, and more.