After relaxing enforcement on the use of expired N95 respirators and on their extended use and reuse, late on April 3, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an Enforcement Guidance for Use of Respiratory Protection Equipment Certified under Standards of Other Countries or Jurisdictions During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic. The new guidance supplements, but does not replace, previous guidance.
Following up on its recent temporary enforcement guidance permitting suspension of N95 annual fit-testing for healthcare employers, on April 3, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an interim Enforcement Guidance for Respiratory Protection and the N95 Shortage Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic.
Healthcare entities are facing a growing number of challenges related to the virus SARS-CoV-2 and the disease caused by that virus, COVID-19. Among the primary concerns is whether a specific healthcare entity is covered by the Privacy Rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA); and if so, how to avoid violating that rule when sharing names or other identifying information of individuals infected with or exposed to the virus.
Now that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) acknowledges that employers may implement temperature screening measures in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many employers want to conduct them, and want to know how to conduct them. In some locations, employers may even feel compelled to conduct them based on location-specific or general community mitigation guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Employers across the globe, faced with the need to reduce the risk of workplace transmission of COVID-19, may be contemplating imposing standard temperature screenings on their employees. In many jurisdictions, an employer may need or want to consult with employee representatives (such as Works Councils in Europe or unions where applicable) or limit temperature checks to only those employees who consent. Even if temperature checks comply with local and national laws, instituting such measures may still present risks for employers, such as claims that the employer screened employees in a discriminatory fashion and mishandled the data from a privacy perspective. Temperature screenings may also pose employee and public relations considerations.
On March 14, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued temporary enforcement guidance addressing the fit-testing requirements in the agency’s respiratory protection standard (29 C.F.R. § 1910.134). The guidance applies to healthcare workers using N95 respirators to protect them from the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
In an effort to increase social distancing in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, on March 15, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom held a news conference in which he issued an executive order calling for the home isolation of all individuals who are 65 and older, as well as individuals with chronic health conditions.
Despite multiple challenges, many portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are still in effect and employers are taking steps to remain in compliance with the law. This fact sheet is intended as a quick checkup as businesses prepare for reporting on coverage offered under their employer-sponsored healthcare plans in 2019 and develop their compliance strategies for 2020.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revisited the treatment of prescription drug manufacturer coupons in a proposed rule, published on February 6, 2020, that could be welcome news for employers that have been struggling to interpret conflicting guidance concerning these coupons.
As the world responds to the accelerating 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak originating in Wuhan, China—a situation now declared by the World Health Organization to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern—multinational employers, particularly those with employees based in or traveling to China, are assessing their role in managing workforce impact. In addition to taking precautions to prevent the spread of illness, employers are contending with government-imposed travel shutdowns and advisories, quarantines, border screenings, and extended holidays that may affect local operations and global mobility.
Coronavirus strain 2019-nCoV has reached the United States.
Employers with employees traveling to and from China may want to take note that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on January 21, 2020, that the United States had confirmed its first case of a new strain of the coronavirus that appeared in Wuhan, China, last month. The virus has already sickened hundreds of people and is reported to have killed six, according to Chinese authorities.
On December 3, 2019, a New York court upheld a recently-amended New York law that eliminated the availability of a religious exemption from compulsory vaccination of schoolchildren.
As Arizona employers prepare for 2020, key minimum wages and exempt salary levels under city, state, and federal law will go into effect. Additionally, employers will want to remain aware of potential legislation and/or voter propositions on recreational marijuana and raises in the healthcare industry in Arizona.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2019-63 on December 2, 2019 providing some relief from Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting requirements.
Employer-sponsored health plans and health insurers may be required to post online—and to provide participants upon request—a range of pricing and cost-sharing information beginning in 2021.
On November 21, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution (HR) 1309, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, in a 251-158 vote.
In part due to the prevalence of female employees in the healthcare setting, the healthcare industry has moved to address lactation accommodation laws and implement lactation policies at a faster pace than other industries.
Workplace vaccination programs are not new. While many focus on influenza, healthcare employers often impose more robust requirements to protect employees and vulnerable patient populations.
On July 17, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of the Treasury in Notice 2019-45 announced the expansion of preventive care benefits under qualifying high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). This expansion allows individuals to retain their eligibility to make contributions to health savings accounts (HSA) when covered under HDHPs that provide for first-dollar coverage for certain chronic conditions.
Starting in 2020, employers will be able to offer health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) that work in conjunction with individual coverage or Medicare without running afoul of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) market reform rules.
On May 21, 2019, the Federal Register published the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) final rule titled Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care (Conscience Rule), which addresses the rights of individual healthcare employees who object to participating in medical procedures that violate their consciences, as well as the rights of faith-based healthcare institutions to provide services consistent with their religious mission and identity.
In two recent companion cases, Andryeyeva v. New York Health Care, Inc. and Moreno v. Future Care Health Services, Inc., the New York Court of Appeals upheld the New York State Department of Labor’s (NYSDOL) 13-hour rule for the payment of home health aides working 24-hour shifts. Under this rule, an employer may pay home health aides for only 13 hours of a 24-hour shift if the aides receive at least 3 hours of meal break time and at least 8 hours of sleep (at least 5 of which must be uninterrupted).
On May 17, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 880 individual cases of measles had been confirmed in 23 states across the country in 2019. According to the CDC, the current outbreak of measles represents the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since 1994 and since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000.
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.