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EMPLOYERS FOOT THE BILL

Feds say insurers not required to pay for employer return to work COVID-19 testing

Since the public health emergency began, the US government has taken the position that insurers shouldn’t be allowed to make consumers pay for COVID-19 lab tests. But now comes news that insurers will not be put in that same position with regard to return to work screening conducted on employees by their employers. FFCRA rules for COVID-19 test payment The key piece of federal relief legislation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), required insurers to cover COVID-19 tests without imposing any copayments, deductibles, coinsurance or other patient cost-sharing. But the rule (Section 6001 of FFCRA) rule applied only to tests deemed “medically appropriate” by a healthcare provider. The key question: Would insurers also have to foot the bill for screening tests not used for diagnosis and treatment? Apparently, the… . . . read more.

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.

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.

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.

ENFORCEMENT

Feds Take Down $2.1 Billion Medicare Genetic Test Fraud Scheme

You know that a branch of lab testing has gone from fad to mainstream when it becomes the subject of a major federal enforcement takedown. Accordingly, the newly announced breakup of a $2.1 billion genetic billing fraud scam, one of the largest Medicare frauds ever undertaken, signifies that genetic testing has officially arrived. Operation Double Helix Known as Operation Double Helix, this landmark investigation and prosecution was a joint HHS, DOJ and FBI crackdown carried out in five federal districts against 35 defendants associated with genetic testing labs (CGx) and telemedicine companies, including doctors, CFOs and CEOs that allegedly “capitalized on the fears of elderly Americans to induce them to sign up for unnecessary or non-existent cancer screening tests,” according to one of the U.S. Attorneys involved. Old Wine in… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

Hiring and firing risk factor: careless words

Today’s administrators need to be aware of the casual – albeit well meant – words that are bringing on claims of discrimination. Legal risks of both hiring and firing include careless words, says employment law attorney Donald W. Benson, a partner with Hall Booth Smith in Atlanta. The friendly hiring remark The dangers start with the interview, where a wrong comment can generate a claim no employer ever expects, says Benson. Everybody knows not to ask the obvious questions of “are you married?” or “do you have children?” or “are you planning to have a family in the future?” Yet many an interviewer brings up a discriminatory topic obliquely and unwittingly in an effort to build rapport with a candidate, never thinking about the danger. Remarks such as “we have a… . . . read more.

ERGONOMICS

Better productivity and a happier staff happen as ergonomics steps in

Ergonomics is good economics. When the work areas are in sync with the people spending their days in them, there’s no time lost to sick days and no money lost to low productivity, says Hayley Kaye, a certified professional ergonomist with HLK Consulting in New York City. Achieving that calls for attention to the desks, the telephones, and the chairs. But it also calls for teaching people how to set them up correctly. It’s of zero value to have thousands of dollars of ergonomically correct furniture that nobody has adjusted. The elbow-wrenching desktop A good place to start is with the hands and elbows. For typing, they need to be level, Kaye says. Yet most desks are too high to the point that anybody shorter than 6’2″ has to sit with… . . . read more.

Department of Labor enters final stage of update to ‘regular rate’ rule under FLSA

By Mike O’Brien  bio Department of Labor enters final stage of update to ‘regular rate’ rule under FLSA. As we have discussed previously in these updates, the Department of Labor has been working to update the definition of “regular rate” of pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The regular rate is used to calculate overtime pay. The rule has not been updated in half a century, and fails to capture the realities of the modern workplace. The DOL recognized this, and has now proposed a final rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget. Although the details are not yet publicly available, prior versions of the rule clarified that forms of compensation like tuition reimbursement, employee discounts, employer-provided gym costs, wellness programs, and certain other benefits are… . . . read more.


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