In recent months, the New Mexico legislature enacted legislation expanding employment protections for nurses. The Safe Harbor for Nurses Act allows registered and licensed practical nurses to refuse assignments under certain conditions without fear of retaliation or other adverse action by their employers.
On February 27, 2019, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a hearing on House Resolution 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, introduced by Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT).
In February 2019, President Trump signed an executive order titled “Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence,” also known as the American AI Initiative, that aims to increase the use of artificial intelligence (AI) nationwide.
In Duffey v. Tender Heart Home Care Agency, LLC, the California Court of Appeal for the First District addressed whether an in-home caregiver was an independent contractor or employee.
The year 2018 was a busy one for healthcare employers. Below are some of the key developments from 2018 and issues that employers should be on the lookout for in 2019.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecast a nursing shortage through 2024, with the United States projected to need more than half a million new nurses to replace those who leave the profession.
With flu season here and reported incidents of deaths caused by diseases thought to have been eradicated by vaccines on the rise, many healthcare providers are considering mandatory vaccination of employees.
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.
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.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) introduced mandatory coverage for a wide array of preventive care services. Section 2713 of the ACA requires most health plans to provide coverage for various preventive care services without cost-sharing requirements (e.g., copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance).
A recent decision by a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administrative law judge (ALJ) serves as a good reminder that even nonunion employees in healthcare settings are protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
On November 16, 2018, Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT) introduced House Resolution 7141, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act.
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.
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.
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.
On July 9, 2018, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine published a study in a peer-reviewed medical journal indicating that “[p]hysician burnout is at least equally responsible for medical errors as unsafe medical workplace conditions.”
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.
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).
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.
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).
Employers often receive requests for medical information from the unions representing their employees.
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.
Employers obtain employee health information in a number of ways—most commonly, in relation to a work-related injury or when an employee requests medical leave or a disability accommodation. Most employers understand that such information is “confidential,” but may not fully understand what that means or what they should do to protect it.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), women are less likely than men to incur workplace injuries, but the injuries reported by women are disproportionately unique to female employees.
Flu season is coming, and healthcare (and other) organizations may be asking whether they should have mandatory flu vaccine policies. If an employer decides to implement a mandatory program, the next question is how to administer it.