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MOM WEBINAR

Learn about changes and updates to telehealth

There’s a lot you need to know about telehealth. That’s why Medical Office Manager is offering a webinar, Telehealth—What Managers Need to Know, on April 6. It’s free to Medical Office Manager members. Presenter Jen Bell of Karen Zupko and Associates will give you the tools and knowledge you need to comply with new telehealth regulations. Meanwhile here is Jen’s update on telehealth changes to early 2022. POS 10 Telehealth Provided in Patient’s Home Patient is located in their home (which is a location other than a hospital or other facility where the patient receives care in a private residence) when receiving health services or health related services through telecommunication technology. Home may be defined to include temporary lodging (hotels, homeless shelters) and patient travels of short distance from the exact… . . . read more.

HARASSMENT

Russian-American workplace discrimination: It’s a thing now

By Lynne Curry Question: Like many other employees that need highly skilled employees and want to diversify their labor pool, ours has hired several Russian emigrants. Other than coworkers complaining that these employees’ accents make understanding them difficult, we had no problems—until Russia invaded Ukraine. At first, nothing occurred that created worry. Many of our employees knew little about Ukraine and so peppered the emigrants with questions. But as the horror of what was happening in Ukraine continued, our employees grew angrier. Several employees asked their Russian-born coworkers how they could possibly “defend” what was going on. Things got worse when one of the emigrants defended Putin, calling him a strong leader. How much trouble do we get into if we fire this one employee? While she’s technically skilled, she’s… . . . read more.

DRUGS & ALCOHOL

High at work: Anyone else smell that?

By Paul Edwards More often than you would think, we get calls from managers wondering what they can do about someone whom they think is impaired at work. When that happens, we immediately go into crisis control mode because, well, impairment at work is never acceptable. In this article, we are going to discuss impairment and odors from the perspective of marijuana legalization. From job candidates showing up to interviews smelling like a skunk to employees showing up to their shift distracted with bloodshot eyes, knowing how to handle an employee’s potential marijuana use has only gotten more complicated. Currently, marijuana legalization is in limbo between state versus federal government. While many states have moved to legalize or decriminalize its use, marijuana is still an illegal Schedule I drug under… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Florida’s new “Stop Woke” law impacts workplace training

By Mike O’Brien “Stop Woke” Act passes Florida Senate New legislation in Florida (HB 7) prohibits any teaching that could make students feel they bear “personal responsibility” for historic wrongs because of their race, color, sex, or national origin. But the legislation’s reach doesn’t end in schools. In the workplace, employment practices or training programs that cause an individual to feel similarly guilty could be considered an unlawful employment practice, giving rise to legal liability. The Florida Senate voted 24-15 along party lines to approve a measure labeled “Individual Freedom,” and was seen to be in response to Governor DeSantis’ demand for a “Stop WOKE” Act. You can see more here. New guidance from the DOL on FLSA, FMLA, and Visa programs On March 10 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)… . . . read more.

TECHNOLOGY

Clocked out or connected: What you need to know about after-hours group chats

By Paul Edwards “Quick question…” Those two words have become increasingly popular as our near-constant attachment to communication devices blurs the line between work and personal time. Whether by phone, laptop, or tablet—via Slack, WhatsApp, or Google Chat—it’s easier than ever for teams to stay in contact after the workday is done. But employers need to be cautious about how they approach group conversations outside of the workplace. Not only will you need to ensure that your employees are clear on the standards for professional conduct within a group chat or text, but whether or not you have to pay employees for the time they spend messaging will depend on several factors, including the content of the messages, how much time is spent messaging, and whether the employees are classified… . . . read more.

CYBERSECURITY

New safeguards and fines follow data breach investigations in New Jersey

Two cases of exposing patient personal information occurred in New Jersey but serve as warnings to all healthcare providers. The state’s Division of Consumer Affairs has reached a settlement with three New Jersey-based providers of cancer care that the State alleges failed to adequately safeguard patient data, exposing the personal and protected health information of 105,200 consumers, including 80,333 New Jersey residents. Under the terms of the settlement, Regional Cancer Care Associates LLC, RCCA MSO LLC, and RCCA MD LLC (collectively, “RCCA”)—all headquartered in Hackensack, but with 30 locations throughout New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland—have agreed to pay $425,000 and adopt additional privacy and security measures to safeguard individuals’ protected health information and personal information to resolve the State’s investigation into alleged violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act… . . . read 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.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

6 things to do when remote workers want to move to another state

By Mike O’Brien Is it a problem for a medical office suddenly to have an unplanned, unexpected, and perhaps undesired branch office when an employee moves to another state? Yes! The United States has a national government, state governments, and local governments. They each have powers over employers and make laws that typically apply to and protect people subject to the various jurisdictions. And these laws are not always uniform! There is a lot of variation in state laws related to COVID-19, masks, vaccines, etc. Arizona law requires paid leave, Utah does not. Montana law prohibits age discrimination against any age, not just 40 and above, and also prohibits termination without “good cause” as defined by the statute. Utah does not do either of these things. Nevada law requires daily… . . . 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.

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.


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