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COMPLIANCE

Wage whispers: Can we stop salary talk?

By Paul Edwards When one employee finds out another employee makes more money, it can send ripples throughout your entire workplace. In light of the morale damage this kind of talk can cause, you may be tempted to tell employees not to discuss salaries at all. The problem is employees have a legal right to discuss their salaries with other employees because of existing NLRA protections. What is the NLRA? The NLRA or National Labor Relations Act, is a large, developing area of federal law that’s rapidly changing the way you can regulate your employees’ speech, both on and off the job. Section 7 of the NLRA grants union and non-union employees alike the right to engage in certain activities so they may collectively bargain. These protections apply to all speech related… . . . read more.

TOOL

HIPAA compliance checklist

Having a complete HIPAA compliance program is important to your organization. Run through this HIPAA compliance checklist to see if you have your foundation of HIPAA compliance in place and easily retrievable. HIPAA Policies and Procedures HIPAA privacy policies, procedures, and forms HIPAA security policies, procedures, and forms HIPAA Breach Notification policy and procedure Most recent Notice of Privacy practices Privacy officer’s job responsibilities and contact information Security officer’s job responsibilities and contact information HIPAA workflows and evidence of compliance Most recent HIPAA Risk Analysis Most current HIPAA risk mitigation/risk management documentation Business Associate agreements with list of Business Associates Workforce HIPAA training, periodic HIPAA updates, HIPAA training log Password policies by system Workstation security practices (anti-virus, password requirement, password timeframes, workstation use, etc.) HIPAA documentation specific to the organization… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Three White House announcements for employers

President Biden calls on employers to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated In a White House press release dated April 21, 2021, President Biden called “on every employer in America to offer full pay to their employees for any time off needed to get vaccinated and for any time it takes to recover from the after-effects of vaccination.” The White House statement adds that President Biden will announce “a paid leave tax credit that will offset the cost for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide full payment for any time their employees need to get a COVID-19 vaccination or recover from that vaccination.” By Executive Order, President Biden increases the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15/hour On April 27 President Biden signed an executive… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

OIG sounds the warning on improper COVID-19 vaccination billing

Providers that furnish COVID-19 vaccination and testing services need to look ahead and prepare for the massive federal false billing crackdown that is sure to come if and when the pandemic crisis finally tails off. The latest rumblings from the federal enforcement volcano occurred on April 15 when the OIG issued a relatively rare “Message From HHS-OIG Leadership” (Message) to let it be known that the agencies are hearing reports of false billing and “remain vigilant and committed to holding perpetrators of [COVID-19-related] fraud schemes accountable.” Compliance managers at vaccination facilities are well advised to audit whether their organizations are currently meeting the billing and reimbursement rules the Message summarizes. 6 things to check to ensure proper billing of COVID-19 vaccination The Message specifically reminds providers is being provided by… . . . read more.

HIPAA

New OCR data shed light on the costs of privacy noncompliance

HIPAA enforcement isn’t nearly as fat a cash cow as enforcement of False Claims Act (FCA) and other healthcare fraud laws is, it still takes a lot of money out of the pockets of providers and into the hands of the federal government. But tracking the economics of HIPAA enforcement is tough because the government doesn’t publish data on HIPAA recovery amounts the way it does with the FCA. However, new data from the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has recently emerged that offers some rare insight into the dollars and cents of HIPAA enforcement over the past two decades. Here are some of the key figures, which encompass April 2003, when HIPAA first began being enforced, through 2020: $129,722,482: Total amount of civil penalties and settlements collected by… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Court gives guidance about return to onsite work and ADA

By Mike O’Brien In ADA Case, Tenth Circuit says onsite work may be essential One of the most frequent questions that the writers of these updates receive is whether employers who moved to a remote workplace in response to the COVID pandemic may now recall employees to onsite work. Generally, we’ve advised employers that they are free to require onsite work, although they may need to make exceptions for employees with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or provide leave to eligible employees under the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA). On April 8, 2021, the United States Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal appellate court for the mountain west region), issued an important ADA decision about onsite work requirements in the case of Unrein v. PHC-Fort Morgan,… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Most of your medical office employees are vaccinated. Now what?

By Lynne Curry bio Most of your office staff have received vaccines. Those who remain unvaccinated either haven’t decided whether they will or have refused to get vaccinated. What’s next? Can you relax your workplace protocols? How do you handle the conflicts between vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and those who differently interpret safety protocols? New CDC guidance In recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided new COVID-19 guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.1 Fully vaccinated individuals may interact indoors with other vaccinated individuals without wearing masks or physically distancing. Fully vaccinated individuals, except for those who live in a group setting or themselves experience COVID-19 symptoms, no longer need to quarantine and test if they’ve been around someone who has COVID-19.2 Fully vaccinated individuals do need to… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

EEOC charges down but lawsuits rising

By Mike O’Brien bio EEOC data for FY2020 show dip in charges filed The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its Fiscal Year 2020 Enforcement and Litigation Data report on Feb. 26, 2021. The EEOC reports that 67,448 charges of discrimination were filed in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020, compared to 72,675 charges filed in the previous fiscal year. The agency made headway in addressing a backlog of charges, resolving 70,804 charges during FY2020, and securing $439.2 million for victims of discrimination. Continuing the trend of recent years, retaliation was the most commonly-asserted claim, made in 55.8% of all charges. Disability, race, and sex discrimination claims each were asserted in roughly a third of charges filed, at 36.1%, 32.7%, and 31.7%, respectively. Age, national origin, color, and religion… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

How to create an enhanced cleaning and disinfection policy for your medical office

In the age of COVID-19, complying with the rigorous hygiene requirements of OSHA and other standards may not be enough. That’s because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health guidelines mandate that work facilities still in operation undertake special enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures. This is particularly the case for healthcare sites. Here are the rules and how to comply. There’s also a Model Policy on this website that you can adapt for use at your own facility. What’s at Stake SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus, spreads by human-to-human contact and can live on a surface or object for up to seven days. The virus can be killed but it takes the right products and procedures. That’s why public health agencies are requiring employers… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

Why the NLRB hates your no gossiping policy

By Paul Edwards bio I keep running into this problem as we evaluate pre-existing employee handbooks across the country. The issue is that, as an employer, you want to address employees standing around and gossiping. Or standing around and not being productive, or standing around and distracting those who are being productive. In fact, you don’t want employees standing, or sitting, around at all. So you get creative, and a new policy is born. Here are examples we run into all the time: No gossiping! Employees may not stand around or be inactive for more than 10 seconds. Employees may not conduct personal business during working hours. Employees must not intentionally create problems for other team members, managers, or others. Doing so may result in warnings and/or termination. Employees must not act… . . . read more.


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