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CORONAVIRUS

Practical guidance for medical office employers handling coronavirus

By Paul Edwards bio We know there is a lot of information (and misinformation) out there about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to handle it in the workplace. Our goal is to provide you with guidance on how to handle this as an employer—practical solutions for the impact the coronavirus may have on your business. If an employee is sick, can I send him/her home? If an employee is objectively showing signs of being sick—flu symptoms, bad cold symptoms, coronavirus symptoms, or other—you are able to send them home so that they don’t pose a health risk to the rest of your team or other visitors to the office. Most employers encourage their teams to stay home if they are unwell, but don’t necessarily require it unless it appears to… . . . read more.

CORONAVIRUS

4 steps prepare your medical office for coronavirus disease

The true impact of a COVID-19 outbreak in a U.S. community cannot be predicted. However, all healthcare facilities can take steps now to prepare for such an outbreak and protect both their patients and staff. 1 Be prepared: Stay informed about the local COVID-19 situation. Know where to turn for reliable, up-to-date information in your local community. Monitor the CDC COVID-19 website and your state and local health department websitesexternal for the latest information. Develop, or review, your facility’s emergency plan. A COVID-19 outbreak in your community could lead to staff absenteeism. Prepare alternative staffing plans to ensure as many of your facility’s staff are available as possible. Establish relationships with key healthcare and public health partners in your community. Make sure you know about healthcare and public health emergency planning and response activities in your… . . . read more.

MANAGING STAFF

Don’t cast out a truth teller

By Lynne Curry bio “Morgan” was the one person who took issue with the CEO’s presentation of his new initiative. Before she voiced her concerns, the 12 other managers around the conference table had nodded appreciatively when the CEO made each of his points. Several other managers secretly shared Morgan’s doubts, but no one came to her aid when the CEO looked irritated. Six weeks later, it surprised none of the other managers to receive an email notifying them that Morgan had left the company. It did worry these managers when the CEO’s initiative failed. Nevertheless, the remaining managers knew better than to voice their apprehensions when the CEO and his hand-picked CFO put a good face on the situation. In organizations such as the above, the corporate immune system… . . . read more.

Compliance Tool: Model In-Office Phlebotomist Agreement

The following Model Agreement between a referring physician and a testing lab was created by Savannah, GA, lab compliance attorney Adam Walters and structured to minimize kickback liability risks to each party in accordance with the OIG 1994 Special Fraud Alert, which remains the definitive source of federal guidance on the subject. Speak to your attorney about adapting the model for your own use.

Five reasons you need an employee handbook

By Julie Ellison bio For many employers, the idea of creating an Employee Handbook is overwhelming.  But the importance of having one should outweigh that hesitancy given the peace of mind it can provide you while you are busy running your law firm or business. An Employee Handbook is your roadmap for what your employees can expect from you and what you expect from your employees.  It should be simple, straightforward and relevant.  Not having one in place can create huge headaches that are completely avoidable. Here are five good reasons to have an employee handbook: 1. Handbooks Set Employee Expectations Handbooks allow you to clearly set forth everything from job responsibilities to disciplinary procedures, thus keeping employee expectations consistent with the employer. Experience teaches us that employees are willing to… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

COMPLIANCE: A 10-step compliance strategy for OSHA Recordkeeping Rules

January is the season when employers must compile their OSHA logs for the previous year. Here’s an overview of the OSHA Recordkeeping Standard and a 10-step strategy to ensure compliance. Step 1: Figure out if your office is covered Physician offices are among the industries listed by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) as being partially exempt from the Standard (Section 1904.39), as shown below: Partially Exempt Industries by NAICS Code NAICS Code Industry 6211 Offices of Physicians 6212 Offices of Dentists 6213 Offices of Other Health Practitioners 6214 Outpatient Care Centers 6215 Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories 6113 Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools 8122 Death Care Services Result: You don’t have to keep OSHA injury and illness records (aka OSHA 300 Logs) for any establishment classified under the applicable NAICS… . . . read more.

TOOL: Model Employee Illness/Injury Reporting Policy

The OSHA Recordkeeping Standard requires you to record and potentially report work-related illnesses and injuries. Reporting of illnesses and injuries is also crucial to investigating, identifying and correcting problems that can lead to further incidents and OSHA violations. So, it’s crucial to establish a policy and procedure for workers to report workplace injuries and illnesses. You can adapt this Model Policy to ensure prompt and proper reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses.

BILLING AND COLLECTIONS

CMS to launch new MIPS Participation Framework in 2021 Performance Period

CMS is implementing a new participation framework for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), called the MIPS Value Pathways (MVPs), starting with the 2021 performance period. The goal of this new framework is to move away from siloed performance category measures and activities, and move toward an aligned set of measures and activities that are more meaningful to clinicians and patient care. With the MVPs framework, CMS is aiming to connect measures and activities across the Quality, Cost, Promoting Interoperability, and Improvement Activities performance categories of MIPS for different specialties and conditions. The new framework is designed to: Simplify MIPS and reduce clinician burden; Improve value and create a more cohesive and meaningful participation experience; and Better align with Alternative Payment Models (APMs) to help ease the transition from MIPS… . . . read more.

Employment Law Update

New overtime rule now in effect

By Mike O’Brien bio Jan. 1, 2020 was the deadline to comply with new FLSA overtime rule. At the end of September the Department of Labor issued its long-awaited final rule updating the salary level test for white-collar overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under the new rule, the minimum salary level for exemption is raised from $455 a week to $684 a week, or $35,568 annually. The change marks the first increase in the minimum salary level to take effect in more than 15 years. It is expected to bring overtime eligibility to over a million employees who are ineligible under the current threshold. Although the DOL released a final rule raising the salary level in 2016, the rule was blocked by a federal district court and… . . . read more.

QUALITY PAYMENT PROGRAM

MIPS 2020 payment adjustments in effect based on 2018 performance

In July 2019, each Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligible clinician received a 2018 MIPS Final Score and associated payment adjustment factor(s) as part of their 2018 MIPS performance feedback, available on the Quality Payment Program website. 2020 MIPS payment adjustments, based on each MIPS eligible clinician’s 2018 MIPS final score, will now be applied to payments made for Part B covered professional services payable under the Physician Fee Schedule. Payment adjustments are determined by the final score associated with your Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)/National Provider Identifier (NPI) combination. MIPS eligible clinicians, identified by TIN/NPI combination for the 2018 performance period, will receive a positive, neutral, or negative MIPS payment adjustment in 2020 if they: Were a clinician type that was included in MIPS; Enrolled in Medicare prior to Jan…. . . . read more.


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