#MeToo in Medicine: Year in Review

In the year since the #MeToo movement took off in the wake of the exposé in The New York Times on Harvey Weinstein that shook the entertainment world, emboldened women (and men) have come forward to shine a light on sexual harassment in other sectors of the workforce.

Is Nothing Sacred? ERISA Attacks Move From Church Plans to Government Plans

Having settled many of its attacks on pension plans sponsored by several large church-affiliated healthcare organizations, the plaintiff’s bar appears to be shifting focus to pension and welfare benefit plans maintained by a healthcare entity that is at least nominally an instrumentality of a state.

Combatting the Shortage of Home Care Workers: Going Co-Op?

With the number of U.S. residents aged 65 and older projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060, home care agencies face a litany of difficulties. Among these are that home care agency owners themselves are reaching retirement age. In addition, properly classifying home care workers—and even determining which test to use to classify them—is no easy feat.

Proposed Rule Aims to Resurrect Health Reimbursement Arrangements

Under a proposed rule that the Department of Labor (DOL), Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly issued on October 29, 2018, employers may soon have more flexibility to fund health insurance coverage for employees through health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), other account-based group health plans, and individual health insurance policies.

DOL Proposes Rule to Allow Younger Workers to Operate Patient Lifts in Healthcare Settings

On September 27, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a notice of proposed rulemaking expanding the employment, training, and apprenticeship opportunities for 16- and 17-year-olds in healthcare occupations by removing the prohibition on teen employees operating patient lifts.

Caregiver Registries Find Key Information on Employment Relationship Determinations in WHD Field Assistance Bulletin

On July 13, 2018, the acting administrator for the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) 2018-4 to assist field staff in determining when home care, nurse, or caregiver registries will be considered employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

DOL Finalizes Expansive Association Health Plan Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently finalized its much-anticipated rule which expands opportunities for small businesses and certain self-employed individuals to band together to obtain more affordable group health coverage under an association health plan (AHP).

Senate Passes VA MISSION Act; Eliminates Federal Contractor Status for Some Long-Term Care Providers

On May 23, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive bill called the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018 or the VA MISSION Act of 2018 (H.R. 5674), which authorizes the use of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provider agreements for “extended care” providers, including nursing facilities among others.

OFCCP Extends TRICARE Moratorium to 2021

According to a May 18, 2018, press release, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has extended its moratorium on enforcing the affirmative action obligations of TRICARE providers (a health care program of the U.S. Department of Defense that pays for the medical benefits of active duty and retired military personnel and their families).

Is the Pay Gap a Sickness in Your Healthcare Organization? How Healthcare Employers Can Tackle Gender Pay Disparities

In 2017, a number of cases were filed in federal court in various states by female doctors claiming their employers paid them less than allegedly comparable male doctors. At least one of these cases was conditionally certified as a collective action under the Equal Pay Act. These cases followed on the heels of recent studies showing that, on average, female doctors are paid less than male doctors.

Technology and Trends in the Healthcare Industry, Part II: Answers on Independent Contractor Status for Healthcare Employers

With the rise of apps and websites providing on-demand healthcare, there is little doubt that the use of independent contractors is a hot topic in the healthcare industry. The ability of skilled professionals to freelance is an issue vital to a healthcare industry that is expected to face a shortage of qualified providers over the next 20 years. Shortages have already led to the creation of services, such as Nomad Health, that connect freelance doctors (and, soon, nurses) looking for part-time opportunities to hospitals searching for part-time independent contractors.

Technology and Trends in the Healthcare Industry, Part I: The Risks and Rewards of Remote Medicine

Sick days are built in to nearly every workforce. As employers are aware, depending on an employee’s position and the duration of his or her time off, sick time may slow production or delay deadlines. On the flip side, employees want to work for employers that empathize with employees’ health needs and, further, offer a good benefits package to absorb some healthcare-related costs.

Is Harvey in Your Hospital? How Healthcare Organizations Can Avoid Harassment Scandals

Print, air waves, and social media have all been filled with stories of women accusing Harvey Weinstein of grossly inappropriate (if not, criminal) behavior over a long period of time. There is much discussion of who knew what and whether others enabled his alleged behavior. With the flood of allegations against Weinstein have come other allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior of other powerful men in multiple industries.

The ACA Is Alive and Well: Updates to Mandated Preventive Health Care Services Issued for 2018

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) revolutionized the U.S. healthcare system. Among the many major changes the ACA introduced was mandatory coverage of preventive care services required for most private health plans. Although most plan sponsors are well-aware of the ACA’s requirements for first dollar coverage on preventive care benefits, it may come as a surprise that the list of preventive care services is subject to annual updates, and there are several new requirements for 2018 and 2019.

Compensation Policies Under Scrutiny: Federal Court Conditionally Certifies Class of Female Faculty Physicians in EPA Case

On September 28, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois granted conditional collective action certification in Ahad v. Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University, a case under the Equal Pay Act (EPA) brought on behalf of female faculty physician employees of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and SIU Physicians & Surgeons, Inc.