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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.

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 VIOLENCE

What about guns in cars in the parking lot?

By Lynne Curry Question: Our office takes threats of violence seriously. We prohibit any act or threat of violence by or against any patient, staffer, supplier, or visitor. Our policy applies to all employees, whether on or off company property. We specifically state that we prohibit any use or possession, whether legal or illegal, of weapons on company property or while on business for our practice. In our rural practice some of our employees use their personal vehicles for office business. We pay them $200 a month to compensate them. Can we enforce the no firearms policy for their vehicle while travelling for our office? Answer: According to Perkins Coie Senior Counsel Michael O’Brien, “Your company can enforce a no firearms policy while your employees are on company time. Because your… . . . 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.

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Protect healthcare staff from violence and virus post-pandemic

 By Shawn Paul & Joe Anderson If the nation has learned anything from the COVID-19 crisis, it’s that advance planning in safety preparedness is vital to our ability to respond to emergencies, whether they’re viral, violent, or otherwise. Healthcare organizations in particular need procedures and sufficient up-to-date equipment to quickly respond to potentially confusing and fluid circumstances. The coronavirus crisis has also illuminated the dangerous problem of workplace violence against medical caregivers, an issue that healthcare organizations now have a unique opportunity to address. 7 out of 10  Of all professions, healthcare workers are the number one victims of workplace violence across the country. OSHA reports that 70% of claims for injuries from violence occur in a healthcare setting. Until relatively recently, many nursing veterans (and the administrators responsible for their… . . . read more.

QUIZ

Who Has OSHA responsibility for the health & safety of a temp?

What are your OSHA duties to temporary workers (“temps”) whom you hire from a temp agency to work at your medical office? Stated differently, are you or the temp agency responsible for the temp’s health and safety? Here’s a set of scenario quizzes that illustrate how the rules work. SCENARIO 1: RESPONSIBILITY FOR HAZCOM TRAINING The Temps R’Us Agency (Agency) assigns an employee to temporary work at XYZ Medical Office (Office). Agency is aware that Office’s workers handle and use hazardous chemicals for testing operations. But the temp has no Hazcom training whatsoever. As a result, he suffers an injury as a result of exposure to a toxic chemical while working for Office. QUESTION Who’s responsible for providing the temp the required Hazcom training? Agency Office Both Neither ANSWER Both… . . . read more.


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