On September 10, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced a Phase 4 General Distribution of Provider Relief Funds as well as additional resources for the American Rescue Plan.  Eligible providers can begin applying on September 29th.

Provider Relief Funds (PRF) are grants to healthcare providers and do not need to be repaid if the recipient follows the associated “terms and conditions.”  The terms and conditions include requirements related to eligibility, use of funds, balance billing and other conditions.  Recipients must provide detailed reports regarding how the funds are used.

Per the HHS Press Release, the additional Phase 4 funding provides $17 billion to assist providers that can document revenue loss and expenses associated with the pandemic.  In addition, $8.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) resources are available for providers who serve rural, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare patients.

PRF Phase 4 payments will be based on providers’ lost revenues and expenses between July 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.  According to HHS, Phase 4 payments will reimburse smaller providers at a higher rate than larger providers and include bonus payments for providers who serve Medicaid, CHIP, and/or Medicare patients, who tend to be lower income and have greater and more complex medical needs.

Providers can apply for both the PRF and ARP programs in one application, and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will use existing Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare claims data to calculate payments.

Additionally, PRF recipients will be required to notify the HHS Secretary of any merger with, or acquisition of, another health care provider during the period in which they can use the payments, to ensure provider funds are used for patient care.

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Should you have any questions regarding the above, please contact the Garfunkel Wild attorney with whom you regularly work, or contact us at info@garfunkelwild.com.

Click Here to download the Legal Alert.

 

On May 5, 2021, the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (“HERO Act”) was signed into law.  The HERO Act mandates that workplaces adopt measures to protect employees during airborne infectious disease outbreaks.  The Act requires employers to adopt an airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan (the “Plan”).  All employers are required to adopt the Plan.  In addition, the Act specifies that all employers must implement the Plan once a disease is designated as a highly contagious disease.

At the time the Act took effect, no disease was designated.  However, on September 6, 2021, COVID-19 was designated as a highly contagious communicable disease.  Therefore, employers with worksites in New York State are required to implement the Plan.  Employers that have not yet adopted or implemented a Plan must take steps to do so immediately.       

Airborne Infectious Disease Prevention Plan

Employers are required to either adopt the Department of Labor’s Model Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan (the “Model Plan”) or create an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the Model Plan’s standards. The GW Employment Team can assist reviewing existing plans or implementing an updated Plan.  The Department of Labor has issued several industry specific model plans for the agriculture, construction, delivery services, domestic workers, emergency response, food services, manufacturing, personal services, private education, private transportation, and retail industries.

Once an employer adopts the Model Plan or their alternative plan, it must be posted in a conspicuous place in the workplace and distributed to employees.  The Plan must also be made available upon request to all employees, employee representatives, collective bargaining representatives, independent contractors, the Department of Health, and the Department of Labor.   Employers are also required to include the Plan in their employee handbook, if the employer maintains one.

Finally, the Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees that exercise their rights under the HERO Act or a Plan, which includes reporting violations, reporting an airborne infectious disease exposure concern, or for refusing to work where an employee reasonably believes in good faith that such work exposes themselves, other workers, or the public to an unreasonable risk of exposure, provided that the employee, another employee, or representative has notified the employer, of the working conditions and the employer’s failure to cure or if the employer knew or should have known of the working conditions.

Looking Ahead: Establishing a Workplace Safety Committee

The Act also requires that, by November 1, 2021, private employers with 10 or more employees must allow employees to establish a joint employer-employee workplace safety committee.  The committees would be comprised of employer and employee designees and at least two-thirds of the members must be non-supervisory employees.  The Act directs the Department of Health to adopt rules and regulations related to the implementation of these committees in the workplace.

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Should you have any questions regarding the above, please contact the Garfunkel Wild attorney with whom you regularly work, or contact us at info@garfunkelwild.com.

Click Here to download the Legal Alert.

 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Speaker: Marianne Monroy, Partner / Director, Garfunkel Wild, P.C.

Garfunkel Wild’s Marianne Monroy will present at the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association (ASCA) Webinar  “How to Build a Useful, Engaging Employee Handbook—Review, Revise and Recirculate it Every Year” on September 21, 2021.

An employee handbook can be a valuable communication resource for both the employer and the employee. It can also be a means of protecting the employer against discrimination or unfair treatment claims. This webinar will provide information on how to review and revise your ASC’s employee handbook to communicate your facility’s policies, procedures and benefits and the expectations of its management effectively.

For more information, click here

 

As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have mandated that certain health care workers be vaccinated against COVID-19.

New York

  • By Order dated August 18, 2021, the New York State Commissioner of Health is requiring that healthcare workers in general hospitals (e., hospitals that provide inpatient care 24 hours a day) and nursing homes be vaccinated against COVID-19, except for those with bona fide religious or medical exemptions. These healthcare workers, including employees, students, volunteers and medical staff, are required to have at least one dose of an approved vaccine by September 27, 2021.  It does not appear that applicable health care workers will be permitted to undergo regular testing in lieu of vaccination.   On September 2, 2021, there is an opportunity for health care facilities impacted by the announcement to present evidence that failure to comply will not constitute a danger to the health of the people of the State of New York

New Jersey

  • On August 6, 2021, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 252, requiring the following health care facilities to implement policies that require their workers (e., full and part-time employees, contractors and other individuals working in the settings noted below, including individuals providing operational, custodial or administrative support) to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 7, 2021, or submit to testing at a minimum of one to two times per week:
    • Acute, pediatric, inpatient rehabilitation, specialty, and psychiatric hospitals;
    • Ambulatory surgical centers, long-term care facilities, and intermediate-term care facilities;
    • Residential detox, short-term, and long-term substance abuse disorder treatment facilities;
    • Clinic-based health care settings, including ambulatory care, urgent care clinics, dialysis centers, federally qualified health centers, and family planning sites; and
    • Community-based health care settings, including elderly care programs, pediatric and adult medical day care programs, and licensed home health agencies and registered health care service firms operating within New Jersey.

Connecticut

  • On August 6, 2021, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 13B, which requires employees, and volunteers and contractors with direct access, at long-term care facilities to receive at least the first vaccination dose by September 7, 2021, except for those who fall under a medical or religious exemption. The Executive Order does not provide the option to undergo testing in lieu of vaccination.
  • A “long-term care facility” is defined to include the following:
    • Nursing homes and residential care homes;
    • Assisted living services agencies;
    • Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities;
    • Managed residential communities; and
    • Chronic disease hospitals.
  • Executive Order 13B also specifies that long-term care facilities shall not employ any individual that has received the first dose, but fails to receive the second dose, of a two-dose series vaccination.

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Should you have any questions regarding the above, please contact the Garfunkel Wild attorney with whom you regularly work, or contact us at info@garfunkelwild.com.

Click Here to download the Legal Alert.