Important Message for Immigrants Regarding HIPAA and Public Charge

Washington County Public Health is here to protect the health of all community members. People who seek health care or contact Public Health about COVID-19 symptoms will not be asked about their immigration or citizenship status. 


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the privacy of all people seeking medical care. We may need to share limited personal information with health systems and people you have been in contact with who could be at risk. However, this information will not include immigration status and will not be shared with government agencies outside of public health. 

Public Charge 

Federal immigration authorities announced that seeking medical care for coronavirus COVID-19 will not count against those seeking permanent residency in the United States. 

We encourage everyone to recover at home if symptoms are mild, but everyone should feel safe seeking care for COVID-19 if they have severe symptoms. 

If you are uninsured and need a health clinic, you can find a list of clinics that serve people who are uninsured or under-insured on the Coalition of Community Health Clinic’s website. If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, coughing or difficulty breathing, call before visiting a clinic.

More information

Multnomah County Article – Public Charge and COVID-19
Federal Guidance – HIPAA and COVID-19 
Guidance for health professionals – HIPAA and COVID-19
HIPAA in Other Languages
Fisher Phillips Law Q&A – COVID-19