Start Your FREE Membership NOW
 Discover Proven Ways to Be a Better Medical Office Manager
 Get Our Daily eNewsletter, MOMAlert, and MUCH MORE
 Absolutely NO Risk or Obligation on Your Part -- It's FREE!
EMAIL ADDRESS



Upgrade to Premium Membership NOW for Just $90!
Get 3 Months of Full Premium Membership Access
Includes Our Monthly Newsletter, Office Toolbox, Policy Center, and Archives
Plus, You Get FREE Webinars, and MUCH MORE!
EMPLOYMENT LAW

EEOC updates guidance related to COVID-19 and ADA

By Mike O’Brien The EEOC recently released updated guidance on the intersection between COVID-19 and major federal employment laws. In particular, the agency explained that COVID-19 may be considered an ADA-protected disability in certain cases. While mild or asymptomatic cases of the illness do not constitute an ADA-protected disability, other more severe cases, including “long COVID” presentations, may be a disability and thereby trigger the accommodation, non-discrimination, and non-retaliation components of that statute. Additionally, the EEOC’s guidance addressed employers’ obligations to provide religious exemptions for vaccination and masking requirements under Title VII. Employers must provide exemptions to employees with sincerely held religious beliefs. NLRB signals possible reversal of Trump era board decisions There’s a lot going on at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the federal agency charged with enforcing… . . . read more.

HIPAA

5 more HIPAA patient rights violations: strategies for avoiding fines

By Danika Brinda In September of 2019, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services settled the first HIPAA Fine and Corrective Action Plan for $85,000. Fast forward a little over 2 years to late last year  the OCR assigned five more fines and corrective actions plans for non-compliance with Patient Access, now totaling 25 covered entities with settlements with fines. This is a wake-up call for the entire healthcare industry regardless of specialty that having a defined process in place to respond to a patient’s request for information is a must. HIPAA is very clear in the regulations regarding patient access. The main components of the Patient Access Regulation are that:  Patients have a right to inspect and get a copy of their… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

OSHA emergency vaccine mandate withdrawn and forced arbitration may end for workplace sexual harassment

By Mike O’Brien After a recent United States Supreme Court decision prohibited it, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officially announced the withdrawal of its COVID-19 vaccination and testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), effective Jan. 26, 2022. According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “OSHA’s withdrawal of its COVID-19 vaccination and testing ETS, which required employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers were vaccinated against COVID-19 or underwent weekly testing, nullifies employers’ obligations under the standard. The withdrawal would also discontinue the OSHA ETS case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit because OSHA is unlikely to pursue merit finding for a withdrawn regulation. However, employers must continue to comply with state or local government vaccination and/or testing requirements, which are not… . . . read more.

DOCUMENTATION

What you write can come back and bite

By Lynne Curry Your recorded words—they’re direct evidence. Direct evidence is evidence that proves the existence of a fact. Direct evidence includes someone else’s direct observations as in “I saw…,” “I heard….” Here’s a recent case where a staffing firm torpedoed itself and their client. The firm’s recruiter emailed 66,000 recipients. They emailed 66,000 individuals seeking applicants for a desktop support position for a client with a subject line “Desktop Support (Need Young Folks Only).1 Really? That’s direct evidence. And in September of 2021 the EEOC sued the staffing agency. Here’s a landmark case, Stewart v. Wells Fargo Bank, 5:15-cv-00988-MHH, that shows how a manager can undercut a potentially needed termination. Wells Fargo bank hired Deborah Stewart as a treasury management sales consultant. She had experience that qualified her for her… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

A staffer hands you a two-week notice: What’s next?

By Paul Edwards It’s 4:30 on a Friday afternoon, and one of your employees knocks on your door asking to come in. They’re avoiding eye contact, they’re fidgety, nervous… This can’t be good news. You imagine accidentally shredded payroll reports, stolen laptops full of patient information, or something equally catastrophic. But when the employee tells you what’s going on, it’s the last thing you expected: They’re putting in their 2 weeks’ notice. Now what do you do? Before you can decide, you’ll need to know what your options are. In any at-will employment arrangement, you can let an employee go at any time for any reason that’s not unlawful (although there are factors you should consider first), and the employee can also quit at any time, with notice or not. At-will employment… . . . read more.

Employment Law Update

Did your employees move out of state during the pandemic?

By Mike O’Brien Here’s a growing concern for employers over the last couple of years: discovering that an employee has moved from one state to another while working remotely during the pandemic. This situation presents a number of problems and challenges for employers. Imagine the situation where you are a state-based company and hire someone who lives in the state. Unless the job duties outline something else, in this situation there is at least an implicit agreement that the employee will live and work in your state and stay here while employed. Based on this agreement you, the employer, apply your state laws to the relationship, pay your state taxes, report the new hire in your state, etc. If, however, the employee moves to another state and works remotely from… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Supreme court blocks OSHA vaccine mandate, dissolves stay on CMS mandate for healthcare industry

By Mike O’Brien In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued its opinion blocking OSHA’s vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more employees. The majority ruled on Jan. 13 that OSHA had exceeded its authority when it issued the vaccine mandate, concluding that OSHA has authority only “to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures.” The court found that COVID presents a “universal risk” not limited to the workplace that is “no different from day-to-day dangers that all face from crime, air pollution, or any number of communicable diseases. Permitting OSHA to regulate the hazards of daily life—simply because most Americans have jobs and face those same risks while on the clock—would significantly expand OSHA’s regulatory authority without clear congressional authorization.” Note: This decision addresses only the stay decisions… . . . read more.

Patient Privacy

Failure to prevent ransomware attacks exposes healthcare providers to costly negligence lawsuits

Custodians of personal health information have become a prime target for ransomware attacks. In addition to fines for HIPAA violations, failure to safeguard patient medical information against these threats can lead to liability under state negligence and gross negligence laws, including within the framework of potentially disastrous class action lawsuits. The recent case against national cloud software provider Blackbaud, Inc. offers a useful illustration of potential ransomware liability risks. The Ransomware Attack and Class Action Lawsuit    It’s an all too familiar story. Blackbaud was burned in a two-stage ransomware attack that compromised the private, personal data of many of the medical labs, non-profits and other users of its data management software for fundraising and marketing. A group of 34 downstream customers of those clients whose data was exposed banded… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

What to do if an employee defies your mandatory vaccination policy

Mandatory vaccination policies have become a touchstone issue for employers in just about every industry. And all of this begs a question of crucial importance: What should you do when employees defy your medical office’s mandatory vaccination policy? Your choices: Terminate them immediately Accommodate them immediately None of the above The answer is C, none of the above. It’s not that termination and accommodation aren’t valid options; it’s the word “immediately” that makes them the wrong choice. The 2 things to do when employees refuse mandatory vaccination Here’s what you should do if one of your employees refuses to comply with your mandatory vaccination policy. Step 1: Find Out Why They Won’t Get Vaccinated Before the pandemic, mandatory vaccination policies were rare and limited to sensitive sectors like health care… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

Feds crack down on telemedicine and COVID-19 fraud

Telemedicine was a minor but growing blip on the enforcement radar before the public health emergency. But with the dramatic step up in utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was all but inevitable that schemes involving telemedicine fraud would command more of the Department of Justice’s attention. So, the agency’s September announcement of its latest nationwide telemedicine crackdown should come as no surprise. DOJ telemedicine enforcement actions by the numbers Here are some of the key numbers documenting the initiative, which doesn’t yet have a nickname a la last October’s “Operation Rubber Stamp,” the third telemedicine takedown undertaken by the DOJ since 2019: 31: The number of federal districts involved in the most recent initiative; 138: The number of defendants who’ve been criminally charged, including 42 doctors, nurses and other… . . . read more.


(-0)