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Employment Law Update

Making faces doesn’t count as retaliation

By Mike O’Brien Not every negative consequence amounts to retaliation In asserting a claim for retaliation, an employee must prove he or she suffered a “materially adverse action.” But that probably doesn’t include someone “making faces” at you. In Fisher v. Bilfinger Industrial Services Inc., the employee alleged that his supervisor retaliated against him by (among other things) “making faces at him.” The First Circuit Court wasn’t impressed. The court noted that “adverse employment actions” are things like “discharges, demotions, refusals to hire, refusals to promote, and reprimands.” “Making Faces,” on the other hand, amounts to “a frivolous claim that does not implicate Title VII.” In the litigation world, we call this a “bench slap.” You can read the full decision here. More limits on non-competes . . . eventually On July… . . . read more.

YOUR CAREER

Potential for disaster when you serve on a volunteer board

By Lynne Curry Sometimes you take on work for which you aren’t paid—because it matters, or because you’ve been talked into it. Perhaps you serve on the board of a non-profit healthcare corporation, offering your experience and knowledge as a medical office manager. Possibly you run for your condo association’s board of directors because you want some control over the condominium unit in which you live. Despite the zero pay, you occasionally face situations that require hard work and take every ounce of skill you possess. Recently, I helped a community health clinic 11-person board of directors when they found themselves petitioned by angry former employees and upset community members. They hadn’t expected the depth of allegations against the clinic or its top two leaders, nor to find their clinic… . . . read more.

HIPAA

Could your organization’s website reveal your HIPAA non-compliance?

By Danika Brinda Did you know that your organization’s website can reveal to the world that you are out of compliance with HIPAA? A quick look at your organization’s website could reveal to a HIPAA auditor that your organization is struggling with HIPAA compliance. Wondering what I am referring to? The Notice of Privacy Practices! The regulations state that your organization must ensure that the most current version of your Notice of Privacy Practices is posted on the organization’s website (if one exists). Here is the specific language of the regulations: CFR 164.520(c)(3)(i) – A covered entity that maintains a website that provides information about the covered entity’s customer services or benefits must prominently post its notice (of privacy practices) on their website and make the notice available electronically through their website. Go… . . . read more.

INCREASING PROFITS

Denial management: the missing ingredient in revenue cycle management

By John McDaniel The blueprint for effective Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) is complex in today’s healthcare environment. When we map out the RCM process, it includes the following steps: Patient scheduling and registration Insurance eligibility and benefit verification Collection of copayments and deductibles at time of service Claims submission Remittance processing Denial management Back‐end patient collections Denial Management Implementing an effective and efficient process for managing claim denials is likely the single most important action a healthcare organization can make to affect its revenue cycle. Denial management is by no means a simple process; in fact, it is often extremely complex. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the average claim denial rate across the healthcare industry is 5 to 10 percent, varying between specialties. With the average cost… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Protect healthcare staff from violence and virus post-pandemic

 By Shawn Paul & Joe Anderson If the nation has learned anything from the COVID-19 crisis, it’s that advance planning in safety preparedness is vital to our ability to respond to emergencies, whether they’re viral, violent, or otherwise. Healthcare organizations in particular need procedures and sufficient up-to-date equipment to quickly respond to potentially confusing and fluid circumstances. The coronavirus crisis has also illuminated the dangerous problem of workplace violence against medical caregivers, an issue that healthcare organizations now have a unique opportunity to address. 7 out of 10  Of all professions, healthcare workers are the number one victims of workplace violence across the country. OSHA reports that 70% of claims for injuries from violence occur in a healthcare setting. Until relatively recently, many nursing veterans (and the administrators responsible for their… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE WELLNESS

Why employee mental health is so critical today—and how managers can help

By Robert Half Continued stress has long been an impediment to a healthy workplace, especially when it leads to burnout—increased mental detachment from the job and reduced effectiveness. In a 2019 Robert Half survey of managers, a staggering 96% said their employees experience burnout to some extent. And in a related poll, 91% of workers themselves reported feeling at least somewhat burned out. And then came COVID-19. The anxiety and uncertainty associated with the pandemic has further gnawed away at mental well-being for many managers and employees. New stressors for home-based workers often included larger workloads due to leaner staffing, not being able to interact with colleagues in person and the challenge of caring for children or elders during the workday. In a 2020 global study by Qualtrics, SAP and… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

New guidance, sort of, about COVID-19 in the workplace

By Mike O’Brien EEOC provides new COVID-19 guidance The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released some new guidance on COVID-19 issues at work. Here are the four EEOC-noted highlights of the most recent update, in late May: First, an employer can require that all employees physically entering the workplace be vaccinated for COVID-19, so long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the laws prohibiting disability and religious discrimination. Additionally, from the EEOC’s perspective, “employers should keep in mind that because some individuals or demographic groups may face greater barriers to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination than others, some employees may be more likely to be negatively impacted by a vaccination requirement.” Second, the federal EEO laws do not prevent/limit employers from offering incentives to employees to get… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

The three laws of sharps safety

By Dan Scungio In Isaac Asimov’s writings about science, he created “the three laws,” a set of rules designed by humans that robots must follow in that fictional society. Robots cannot harm human beings, they must obey humans (unless it conflicts with the first law), and they must protect themselves from harm (unless that conflicts with the first two laws).  With those in place, there should be no issues with the use of robots in society, but bending those laws provided interesting plots for many books and movies. There are three laws for sharps safety as well, but breaking those laws can be far more dangerous for healthcare workers. It is not an exaggeration to call the safety guidelines about medical sharps “laws.” In the United States the Occupational Health… . . . read more.

CYBERSECURITY

5 unintended ways companies compromise network security

By Ron Slyker Solid organization security is a considerable necessity in today’s world—that’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone. Nonetheless, making and keeping an impenetrable organization is something that stays a slippery objective for some enterprises. Organizations of all sizes are continuously struggling with the battle of guaranteeing that each potential security gap is sealed securely. Most organizations are coming up short with attempting to guard their organizations, making them defenseless against data theft and malicious network invasion. To feature exactly how genuine this issue is we will diagram five of the main manners by which endeavors are accidentally bargaining their organization security, and exactly how they can fix these oversights. Sole reliance on VPNs as a security bandage Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) assume a significant part… . . . read more.

WORKING WITH PATIENTS

5 ways to boost health literacy, improve medication compliance

By Lisa A. Eramo Let’s face it. Prescription medications are difficult to pronounce, and their regimens can be complex. Take three Pill As with food, one Pill B in the morning, and two Pill Cs right before bed. For patients with multiple chronic conditions and/or dementia, these challenges are even greater. They may find themselves asking, “Why am I even taking this medication? Perhaps it’s okay to skip a dose once in a while.” What’s something that can make a big difference in terms of medication compliance (i.e., taking medications on schedule and as prescribed)? Health literacy. Only 12% of U.S. adults have the health literacy skills needed to manage the demands of our complex health care system. When stress or illness comes into play, the ability to absorb and use health… . . . read more.


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