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HIPAA Quick Reference Guide For Employees

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16.0 Vendors

Can a pharmaceutical or medical device vendor representative observe patient care or have access to PHI?

No.  It is not appropriate for a supply or equipment vendor representative (such as a pharmaceutical or medical device vendor) to be present during a patient's appointment, treatment, or surgery.  Additionally, a vendor may not have access to patient charts or lists of patient names.  There are limited exceptions when a vendor representative's presence may be necessary and therefore allowed:

The guidelines for these exceptions are available in the Guidance section of the HIPAA website. 

If you suspect a vendor's presence is not authorized or his/her behavior is inappropriate, you should ask the vendor representative to leave or contact security at 2-6262 to have the vendor removed from the premises.

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