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Model Medical Office Workplace Vaccine Passport Policy

Although courts have yet to weigh in on the issue, guidelines from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other regulatory agencies indicate that employers may implement vaccine passports if they perform a workplace assessment and determine that limiting entry to the vaccinated is a necessary health and safety measure to prevent an imminent risk. Employers must also ensure that their passport policies comply with anti-discrimination and privacy protection requirements. Here’s a Model Policy that you can adapt for use at your own medical office, depending on the workplace-specific circumstances involved.

COMPLIANCE

5 things to do when implementing a vaccine passport policy at your medical office

Like many other health providers, you might have been undecided about whether to mandate that your employees get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, now that the FDA has fully approved a coronavirus vaccine, namely, the Pfizer BioNTech, you are on much stronger legal ground in requiring that employees get vaccinated. One strategy that may work, especially for offices that aren’t administering the vaccine for their own employees, is to implement a vaccine passport, i.e., a policy requiring personnel to present proof of their vaccination status to gain entry to the workplace. What is a vaccine passport? A “vaccine passport” is a commonly accepted means of showing that a person has received the COVID-19 vaccine. Some foreign governments are creating official, uniform cards that individuals must display. (Go to this link for… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

All private-sector employers with 100 or more employees must mandate vaccination or a weekly negative COVID-19 test

By Mike O’Brien President Biden spoke from the White House Sept. 9 to announce his new Path Out of the Pandemic Plan. Among other things, President Biden has instructed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop rules that will require private-sector employers with 100 or more employees to mandate that their employees be vaccinated or receive a weekly negative COVID test. Employers who fail to do so will face fines. Some media outlets report that such fines could be up to $14,000 per violation. Along with President Biden’s spoken remarks, the White House also issued this statement: The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated… . . . read more.

MANAGING STAFF

We suspect our employees gave us phony vaccination cards

By Lynne Curry Question: Our senior leadership team couldn’t believe the hostility that erupted when we told our employees if they weren’t vaccinated by Sept. 15, we’d consider they had voluntarily resigned. Several of them emailed lengthy rants to every member of the management team. Others came into our offices crying and went home in tears. Then, like magic, the protests stopped. We thought it might have to do with the FDA approving Pfizer, or someone talking sense to the 11 employees who hadn’t wanted to get vaccinated. We breathed a sigh of relief. A few days ago, our office manager got suspicious. She looked up phony vaccination cards. Is this really a thing? If so, this torques us. What can we do about it? Is it best to let… . . . read more.

Employment Law Update

Paid leave for vaccine tax credit updated & employer ups premiums for unvaccinated

By Mike O’Brien Update to the paid-leave tax credit expansion—paid leave for employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine  As previously described in these updates, the Treasury Department and the IRS announced that eligible employers could receive paid-leave tax credits under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for providing leave for each employee receiving a COVID-19 vaccine and for any time needed to recover from the vaccine. Generally, the tax credits are available for qualified leave wages an eligible employer provides with respect to leave taken by employees beginning on April 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2021, if the leave would have satisfied the requirements of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, as amended for ARPA. An eligible employer is generally an… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

OSHA updates guidance to track the latest CDC mask recommendations

By Mike O’Brien  The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has updated its COVID workplace safety guidance entitled, Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace. OSHA’s latest update on Aug. 13 “reflect[s] the July 27, 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mask and testing recommendations for fully vaccinated people.” Prior to this update, OSHA had stated that fully vaccinated employees did not need to wear masks and that COVID safety precautions really were focused on protecting only unvaccinated workers. However, that guidance has now changed in response to the highly contagious Delta variant. OSHA’s guidance includes “recommendations,” that do not carry the force of law and “creates no new legal obligations.” Still, OSHA’s counsel likely becomes a standard of reasonableness by… . . . read more.

Are we making a mistake to require our employees to get vaccinated?

By Lynne Curry Question: Your recent post reported that many employers, including Facebook, Google, Tyson Foods, the Walt Disney Company, Houston Methodist Medical Center, United Airlines, Cisco, DoorDash, the Washington Post and Frontier Airlines, require all onsite employees to get vaccinated. That same day, we learned the Pentagon would require all active-duty troops to become vaccinated by Sept. 15. That, plus our history—having to shut down for two weeks when one of our employees tested for COVID, and the flack we were getting from vaccinated employees who have to wear masks because of a handful of unvaccinated employees, made us decide to have require all employees to get vaccinated. We didn’t expect the unglued reaction that came from our unvaccinated employees. We received repeated texts and emails from employees telling… . . . read more.

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE

Masks making a comeback and vaccine mandates are on

By Mike O’Brien Masks make a comeback On July 27, 2021, the CDC issued new guidance for people that have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Previously, the CDC had said that fully vaccinated individuals did not need to wear masks in public. However, largely in response to the spread of the Delta variant, the CDC now recommends wearing a mask indoors in public if you are in “an area of substantial or high transmission.” The CDC has provided a “county tracker” tool for determining what areas have “substantial or high transmission.” A large portion of the State of Utah appears to be in the high transmission range. So far, OSHA hasn’t weighed in on the CDC’s updated guidance, but when the CDC has issued mask guidance in the past, OSHA… . . . read more.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

OSHA orders inspectors to use the hammer to enforce new COVID-19 protocols

On June 21, OSHA issued a new Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring health care providers to take extensive measures to protect frontline workers against risk of COVID-19 infection. Exactly one week later, the agency issued internal Compliance Directive 2021-02 (the Directive) telling OSHA inspectors how to enforce the new ETS. The 67 pages of instructions shed light on how the agency intends to hand out penalties for violations, which, in turn, offers insights for offices on how to avoid them. What the ETS covers Responding to criticism about health care workers being left unprotected during the pandemic, the ETS lays down a laundry list of things providers must do to guard against workplace COVID-19 infections. Although most of the measures were already required under previous public health guidelines, the ETS… . . . read more.

BILLING

Newly proposed Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule contemplates Making COVID-19 telehealth changes permanent

On July 13, 2021, CMS published its proposed physician fee schedule rule for FY 2022. One of the key items is the proposal to make the temporary change allowing Medicare providers to deliver healthcare services via telehealth a permanent part of Medicare Part B. The Proposed Medicare Changes During the public health emergency (PHE), Congress added the home of the beneficiary as a permissible originating site for telehealth services for the purposes of diagnosis, evaluation or treatment of a mental health disorder. In addition to updating the fee schedule, the proposed CY2022 rule would allow certain services added to the Medicare telehealth list to remain on the list until the end of December 2023. This would allow CMS to continue to evaluate whether the temporary expansion of telehealth services adopted… . . . read more.


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