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BILLING & CODING

Updated info for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

On Dec. 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID‑19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 for individuals 16 years of age and older. Review Pfizer’s Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) regarding the limitations of authorized use. During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), Medicare will cover and pay for the administration of the vaccine (when furnished consistent with the EUA). Review the CMS updated payment and HCPCS Level I CPT code structure for specific COVID-19 vaccine information. Only bill for the vaccine administration codes when you submit claims to Medicare; don’t include the vaccine product codes when vaccines are free. Related links: CMS COVID-19 Provider Toolkit CMS COVID-19 FAQs CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for medical centers, clinics, and clinicians FDA COVID-19 Vaccines webpage

Tool

Model waiver of COVID-19 infection liability sign to post at your medical office

As long as COVID-19 remains a threat, you run the risk of being sued by clients, vendors, guests and other visitors (“visitors”) who claim they contracted the virus at your office facility as a result of your inadequate safety measures. One way to limit liability is by conspicuously posting a sign at the entry of your facility indicating visitors’ agreement to waive their rights to sue you for COVID-19 infections by entering the office. Although there’s no guarantee that a court would enforce such a waiver, the Model Sign below uses fairly conservative language that has been found to be enforceable in other situations. Caveat: The inclusion of the phrase purporting to insulate you against your own negligence in Sections 3 and 4 is fairly risky and you may want… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

EEOC issues COVID-19 vaccine guidance

By Mike O’Brien bio On Dec. 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 guidance to include a section devoted to vaccinations. The EEOC’s guidance answers these and other COVID-19 vaccine questions: “Is asking or requiring an employee to show proof of receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination a disability-related inquiry?” “If an employer requires vaccinations when they are available, how should it respond to an employee who indicates that he or she is unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of a disability?” “If an employer requires vaccinations when they are available, how should it respond to an employee who indicates that he or she is unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of a sincerely held religious practice or belief?” “What happens if an employer cannot… . . . read more.

COMPLIANCE

Using waivers to avoid getting sued for COVID-19 infections

PLEASE READ NOTICE TO ALL ENTRANTS AND USERS OF THESE FACILITIES EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY – ASSUMPTION OF RISK THESE CONDITIONS WILL AFFECT YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS INCLUDING THE RIGHT TO SUE OR CLAIM COMPENSATION FOR AN INJURY OR ILLNESS In these times of pandemic, signs and forms like this purporting to shield the owner of a facility against liability have become a fixture in workplaces and other facilities. You might even be using them at your own office. The idea is to notify patients, vendors and other visitors (which, for simplicity’s sake, we’ll refer to collectively as “visitors”) that they’re entering the facility at their own risk and in so doing, waiving their rights to sue the owner for any illness or injury they suffer while on the premises. Of course,… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

“COVID captains” keep the focus on safe work practices

By Dan Scungio The year 2020 has roared to a close, and COVID-19 is unfortunately still around. We have made changes to our lives at home, in public, and at work. Healthcare workers, in particular, made several changes early on with PPE use and work practices that are still in effect today. A great deal of work had to be done early on this year to provide information to staff in healthcare facilities regarding this updated safety information. At this point, the initial work that needed to be done by safety professionals has been completed. Employees have been educated regarding the continued use of Standard Precautions and how they create protection from pathogens every day. However, as can happen with safety programs, staff become tired of following the regulations, they… . . . read more.

Employment Law Update

OSHA says cloth face coverings are not “PPE”

By Mike O’Brien bio In an update to its FAQ, OSHA has stated that cloth face coverings do not constitute personal protective equipment (PPE). According to OSHA, there isn’t enough information currently available to determine if a particular cloth face covering provides sufficient protection from the coronavirus hazard to be PPE under OSHA’s standard. OSHA’s determination is consistent with statements made by the CDC. This determination means that OSHA’s PPE standards do not require employers to provide cloth face coverings to employees. However, OSHA strongly encourages workers to wear face coverings when in close contact with others to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, if it is appropriate for the work environment. In addition, OSHA recommends that employers encourage workers to wear face coverings at work and even says… . . . read more.

COVID-19

Our employees may stage a Thanksgiving rebellion

By Lynne Curry bio Question: I overheard a breakroom conversation last week and learned several employees were planning to get together with extended families for Thanksgiving. One employee was letting another know that if she didn’t “have any place to go,” she could join their family gathering. I honestly couldn’t believe this given the uptick in COVID-19 in our community, so I decided to call an all-hands meeting. I held the meeting in the downstairs lobby so we could physically distance. I started with the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s guidance that we celebrate virtually or within our household. I added that the CDC specifically says those who don’t currently live in our household, even if family members, need to be viewed as members of different households. I reminded everyone… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

How HR regulations could change under Biden administration

By Mike O’Brien bio Employers may be wondering how a Biden administration will affect workplace laws. Prior to the election, Biden’s campaign website gives some clues as to his priorities in this area. Biden lists the failure to pay minimum wage and overtime pay, forcing off-the-clock work, and misclassifying workers as problems resulting in billions of dollars a year in wage theft. To address those issues, he proposes a phased-in implementation of a $15 per hour federal minimum wage (including eliminating the tip credit). He also supports the adoption of a more stringent test for classifying workers as independent contractors, similar to the ABC test employed by California. This type of test would almost certainly result in many more workers being deemed employees and fewer being properly classified as independent… . . . read more.

Can we use a contact tracing app to protect our business and employees?

By Lynne Curry bio Question: Every morning we conduct wellness checks on our employees as they arrive at work, but worry that some employees don’t monitor physical distancing when not at work. We’re barely hanging on as a practice, but all it would take is one employee getting COVID and infecting our other employees to shut us down. We have heard apps can provide real-time contact tracing and wonder if we can require our employees to wear them even when not at work? Answer: Potentially. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers must act to reduce and manage COVID-19-related hazards in the workplace. Employers can view video surveillance that shows when employees clock in and out and reveal an employee’s interactions while at work. Employers can provide employees… . . . read more.

CMS

COVID-19 vaccine: Find out how to prepare

It’s time for medical providers to make sure they are ready to administer the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available. Read the enrollment section of our COVID-19 provider toolkit to see if you need to take action now: Many Medicare-enrolled providers don’t have to take any action until a vaccine is available—make sure your provider-type enrollment is all set Some Medicare-enrolled providers must also separately enroll as a mass immunizer to administer and bill for COVID-19 vaccines when they’re available—find out if you must also enroll as a mass immunizer If you’re not a Medicare-enrolled provider, you must enroll as a mass immunizer or other Medicare provider type that can bill for administering vaccines Enrolling over the phone a mass immunizer is easy and quick—call your MAC-specific enrollment hotline (PDF) and give your valid legal… . . . read more.


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