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Employment Law Update

COVID-19, DACA, discrimination and immigration developments

By Mike O’Brien bio EEOC says no to COVID-19 antibody testing: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently (6/17/20) updated its COVID-19 guidance to indicate that employers should not be requiring employees to submit to antibody testing. Here is the verbatim Q&A (found at EEOC Guidance): Question: (A.7.): CDC said in its Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.” In light of this CDC guidance, under the ADA may an employer require antibody testing before permitting employees to re-enter the workplace? Answer: No. An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA. In light of CDC’s Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,” an antibody… . . . read more.

COVID-19

So, your employee wants to stay on unemployment

By Paul Edwards bio It’s been a few of months of COVID chaos and business owners across America are thinking about what it’s going to take to reopen their businesses—and the economy, in general. Of course, the first piece of that equation involves recalling your employees who have been temporarily furloughed or laid off. And, since one portion of the CARES Act included an additional $600 per week to anyone collecting unemployment benefits, one common question we’re hearing is, “What if my employees refuse to come back to work because they want to keep collecting unemployment?” Usually, this question seems to be based on a misunderstanding of how unemployment benefits work. Generally speaking, if your employees refuse work in favor of collecting unemployment benefits, they will likely not be eligible for… . . . read more.

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.

YOUR CAREER

Job searching during a pandemic

By Lynne Curry bio The career worst has happened. You lost your job during a pandemic. You suffer through the “sorry to tell you” call from your supervisor. When he says “take care of yourself,” you respond, “You take care too.” Then you sit frozen. When every employer is furloughing or laying or workers, how the heck are you supposed to get a new job? You spend the hours it takes to sign up for unemployment, and circle the date on your calendar when you need to have a new job. You spend a day cleaning up your resume and the next three days sending it out to every job you find posted in Indeed.com. No employer calls you. You call a few of your still-employed friends. They check with… . . . read more.

CODING ALERT

Physicians should consider these overlooked codes

By Lisa Eramo bio It’s a common complaint heard among primary care physicians: Evaluation and management (E/M) codes don’t adequately capture the time, skill, and resources necessary to plan and coordinate care for patients with complex medical needs. Although new, streamlined E/M guidelines for 2021 may help, several existing remedies can enable physicians to capture additional revenue for the services they provide. More specifically, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has published a list of 58 CPT codes that fall under the category of “longitudinal comprehensive care planning” (LCCP) for Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illness. These codes include elements of shared decision-making through interdisciplinary care as well as development of a care plan to address the following: Progression of the disease and treatment options Beneficiary’s goals,… . . . read more.

COVID-19

Telemedicine calls for new etiquette guidelines

By Dr. Neil Baum bio Coronavirus has changed the playing field and methodology of caring for patients. We no longer will be seeing all our patients in our offices. Also, there has been a relaxation of the restrictions, such as HIPAA, for using telemedicine and now, or the first time, there are codes and reimbursements that make it possible to be compensated for virtual care. Just as there are proper behaviors expected of physicians who are face-to-face with patients, there is a new code of behavior for telemedicine. Even though telemedicine appointments are becoming popular, video conferencing etiquette can be a challenge to many physicians. I would like to offer a few suggestions for making your telemedicine visits more professional. Use good gear Use the top-of-the line equipment. Even though… . . . read more.

TECHNOLOGY

Choosing an automated compliance partner

By Kristi Williams bio Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious.  And sometimes it takes fresh eyes to see what has been right in front of you all along.  Such is the case with automation in healthcare. Today, healthcare organizations find themselves continuously challenged to keep up with changing regulatory requirements and to ensure that their business practices adhere to external rules and internal controls. That responsibility falls directly on the shoulders of the compliance department who is tasked with identifying risks that an organization faces and implementing controls to protect the company from those risks. The need for an effective compliance program is not new.  It has been understood by health plans for years.  What is new, however, is that an increasing number of health plans are turning to automation… . . . read more.

MANAGING THE OFFICE

Life science companies and healthcare providers partnering for value-based patient care

By Mal Milburn bio In the era of value-based reimbursement, healthcare professionals are constantly evaluating strategies to improve patient care while simultaneously decreasing overhead costs.   Increasingly, medical practices turning to life science reps as a critical part of the answer. According to recent research from DRG Digital Manhattan Research, 74% of physicians are looking to spend more time with life science reps, as rep partnerships have been shown to improve outcomes and reduce costs.   Outcome improvement: Life science companies are developing cutting-edge drugs and technologies at increasing rates, and their reps are equipped with the latest, most comprehensive information about these advancements. Reps are able to bring this education directly to providers in their practice, as the innovations are released. Reps also provide important updates about new drug… . . . read more.

PRODUCTIVITY

Five ways to boost practice efficiency on a shoestring budget

By Karen Mattocks bio It is every manager’s mantra: ‘Do more with the same number of staff.’ Translation? See more patients. Submit more claims. Generate more revenue—all while providing high-quality, low-cost care. How do successful managers accomplish this? They remove the organizational-level barriers that drain productivity, says Michael Mankins, co-author of Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productivity Power. ‘Organizational drag’ refers to the cumulative effect of institutional factors that drain energy and decrease output. Through his research, Mankins found that companies lose more than 20% of their capacity for productivity—more than a day each week—to organizational drag. The good news is that boosting productivity doesn’t require a huge budget or even major changes. The reality is that small steps can make a big difference in… . . . read more.

MANAGING THE OFFICE

7 free or low-cost ways to increase practice efficiency

By Jeremy Gilman bio It is a question practice managers ask themselves daily: ‘How can I accomplish more tasks using the same—or even fewer—resources?’ Times are tough. For many providers, increased access to healthcare care under the Affordable Care Act has translated to increased patient volume, and not every practice is equipped to handle the demands. Couple this with ever-changing regulations, stringent documentation requirements, burdensome prior authorization requests, and increased payer scrutiny, and practice managers have a potential recipe for disaster on their hands. Unless, of course, they do something about it. The good news is that “doing something about it” doesn’t necessarily mean putting in dozens of extra hours every week or doling out thousands of dollars to hire workflow consultants or purchase expensive technology. Ultimately, it is about… . . . read more.


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