To the editor: In his Jan. 11 letter, Thomas Hoadley wrote that he was astonished to see signs at a physical therapy practice stating that masks were “optional,” and he noted that no one inside was wearing a mask. ("Letter: COVID misinformation infects even some health care facilities,” Eagle.)

I believe I went to the same practice because everyone there was also unmasked. At the time I visited the practice, there were signs posted in the waiting room that the vaccine was “experimental” and literature that was strongly anti-vax. I was also frustrated when I asked the owner if she was vaccinated. She said she didn’t have to tell me because of HIPPA protection. My understanding is that HIPPA protects patient privacy, and is not something for practitioners to hide behind, and that it is within one’s right as a patient to ask a health care practitioner a question that will help the patient ascertain whether or not they feel safe. I took this provider’s non-answer as an answer and left the practice.

This experience prompted me to begin asking friends and acquaintances who provide direct close contact care — such as medical, nursing, massage, yoga, hair dressing — if they are vaccinated. Although many said yes, there were also quite a few who said no. This may not be important to everyone, but it is to me. For my personal care, I chose practitioners who are vaccinated and masked. So folks, the only way to find out is to ask directly. And if someone is not vaccinated, the least they can do is wear a mask.

I imagine the recent Supreme Court decision requiring health care workers at facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid money to be vaccinated will reinforce the importance of vaccines in health care.

Ani Nadler Grosser, Lenox