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TOOL: Model visitors’ waiver of COVID-19 infection liability form

As long as COVID-19 remains a threat, you run the risk of being sued by patients, vendors, guests and other visitors (“visitors”) who claim they contracted the virus at your office as a result of your inadequate safety measures. One way to limit liability is having visitors sign a form agreeing to waive their rights to sue you for COVID-19 infections before entering the office. Although there’s no guarantee that a court would enforce such a waiver, the Model Form below uses fairly conservative language that has been found to be enforceable in other situations. Caveat: The inclusion of the phrase purporting to insulate you against your own negligence in Sections 3 and 4 is fairly risky and you may want to talk to counsel about whether to use it… . . . read more.

Tool: Model waiver of COVID-19 infection liability sign to post at your office

As long as COVID-19 remains a threat, you run the risk of being sued by patients, vendors, guests and other visitors (“visitors”) who claim they contracted the virus at your office facility as a result of your inadequate safety measures. One way to limit liability is by conspicuously posting a sign at the entry of your facility indicating visitors’ agreement to waive their rights to sue you for COVID-19 infections by entering the office. Although there’s no guarantee that a court would enforce such a waiver, the Model Sign below uses fairly conservative language that has been found to be enforceable in other situations. Caveat: The inclusion of the phrase purporting to insulate you against your own negligence in Sections 3 and 4 is fairly risky and you may want… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE: Using waivers to avoid getting sued for COVID-19 infections

  In these times of pandemic, signs and forms like this purporting to shield the owner of a facility against liability have become a fixture in workplaces and other facilities. You might even be using them at your own office. The idea is to notify patients, vendors and other visitors (which, for simplicity’s sake, we’ll refer to collectively as “visitors”) that they’re entering the facility at their own risk and in so doing, waiving their rights to sue the owner for any illness or injury they suffer while on the premises. Of course, that includes COVID-19 infection. It seems like a simple, cost-effective way to limit liability risks to visitors who may claim they got infected while they were at your office. But will it work? The answer may depend,… . . . read more.

TOOL

Telecommuter home office hazard assessment & inspection checklist

While not an OSHA obligation, it’s highly advisable to take measures to protect the health and safety of telecommuting office employees who work from home. How? By having employees seeking approval to telecommute designate a room or area as their home workspace and arranging for somebody to perform a hazard assessment inspection to verify that the workspace is safe, healthy and appropriate for the proposed use. Option 1: Have an office supervisor or manager visit the site and do a physical walk-through inspection; Option 2: Have the employee videotape the space and/or submit detailed photos and a floor plan and do the inspection virtually; Option 3: Have the employee inspect the space himself/herself. Whoever does the assessment should use the Checklist below.

Tool: Model Mandatory Face Mask Policy

More than 20 states have enacted laws requiring the use of face masks or coverings in indoor public places, which would include workplaces like medical offices. Here’s a Model Policy incorporating current legal requirements and public health guidance that you can adapt for your own office.

Tool: Model COVID-19 Contact Log Sheet

Maintaining social distancing will be the price that medical offices and other businesses will have to pay to reopen and remain open until the COVID-19 threat goes away. But for social distancing to work, there must be a way to track and analyze actual encounters between people at your facility. One simple way to gather the essential data is to have employees and visitors complete a contact log sheet. Here’s a model your office can adapt for its own use.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Supreme Court ruling extends workplace protections to LGBTQ workers

By Mike O’Brien bio SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND TRANSGENDER STATUS NOW ARE PROTECTED CLASSES NATIONALLY: Federal civil rights law protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees, the United States Supreme Court announced June 15 in a landmark ruling. The historic decision will extend workplace anti-discrimination and anti-harassment protections to about 8 million LGBTQ workers nationwide. The ruling also vindicates a position long taken by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is a defeat, however, for the Trump administration, which opposed the EEOC. President Trump instructed the Department of Justice to argue that the provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that bars discrimination based on sex did not extend to claims of gender identity and sexual orientation bias. This led to the odd circumstance where two parts of the same government argued for opposite… . . . read more.

Model COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan

Regulators have made it clear that workplaces must implement written plans to control COVID-19 exposure risks at the site. Here’s a Model Plan template your medical office can adapt that provides for the necessary protections.

COMPLIANCE

How to create a COVID-19 exposure control plan

For as long as COVID-19 remains a threat, businesses—both essential and nonessential—won’t be allowed to re-open and remain open unless they implement a plan to control workplace infection risks. While infection control is nothing new for medical offices, the challenges posed by COVID-19 are unprecedented and unique and you probably won’t find any great templates in your current policy folders and binders. As a result, you’ll need to build your plan from the ground up. Here’s a step-by-step strategy and Model COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan containing the necessary elements that you can use to accomplish that objective. The Exposure Control Plan & Why You Need It An exposure control plan is a set of measures to protect workers, patients, contractors, visitors and other people at your workplace against exposure to… . . . read more.

REOPENING THE OFFICE

Doctors & nurses eager to get back to work despite COVID-19 anxieties

Layoffs and furloughs are a new thing for many medical professionals who’ve come to expect stability in their employment. So, it’s not surprising that a new survey suggests that medical professionals are eager to end lockdowns and get back to work; but like workers in so many other industries, the prospect of going back to work while COVID-19 remains at large is tinged with concern. The CHG Healthcare Survey The survey of 1,285 physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, by healthcare staffing agency CHG Healthcare, found that anxieties are up, even while workloads are down. Among respondents, 59% reported that they’ve treated patients who were either symptomatic but not tested or formally diagnosed as having COVID-19 or exhibiting symptoms who was not tested. When asked how their current anxiety levels… . . . read more.


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