On June 15, 2021, New York State celebrated reaching 70 percent of its adult population having received at least one vaccination dose. As a result, the State lifted most of its New York Forward industry-specific COVID-19 guidelines—including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and gathering contact information for tracing—making them optional for most employers. The State has archived its industry-specific reopening guidance, which employers may, but are not required to, continue to follow.
As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, we look at the ways in which states are relaxing COVID-19 restrictions and discuss the much-anticipated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) emergency temporary standard.
States Adjust COVID-19 Regulations to Align with CDC Guidance
States are relaxing or lifting COVID-19 regulations in different ways to align with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), causing confusion for many employers. The CDC’s guidance does not provide a recommended mechanism for confirming vaccine status, which is also leading to different regulations in different states. Read more about changes in California, Illinois, and New York.
On June 11, 2021, Illinois and the City of Chicago entered Phase 5 of its five-stage reopening plans. As part of the transition, Illinois released Executive Order 2021-12 (the “Phase 5 Reopening Order”) and new Phase 5 Guidance. Chicago also issued Phase 5 Recommendations and provided a helpful graphic that provides additional recommendations, which apply to all businesses. For Illinois and Chicago businesses, Phase 5 means a lifting of many COVID-19 restrictions across industries. Although businesses can start operating closer to normal, Phase 5 is a new normal that still includes social distancing and masking recommendations that should be on your Company’s radar.
A Common Ministerial Decision (Ν. 24907/2021 – Government Gazette – B’ 1820 / 29.04.2021) has been issued recently in Greece according to which a total amount of 8,000,000 euros will be granted as a support measure for cinemas and film distributors that have been affected by the restrictive measures due to Covid-19 pandemic, as part of the initiatives taken for the support of the sector of culture who has suffered particularly badly. According to members of the Government, this program is part of a general plan of initiatives for the practical support of the sector of culture, with both horizontal and specialized measures.
The issue of mandatory vaccines has been a sensitive one for employers. Although the EEOC cleared the way for employers to mandate vaccines in its Technical Assistance guidance, What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws, most employers have taken the route of strongly encouraging rather than mandating vaccines. Now, with the rate of vaccines leveling off, employers are re-thinking that approach. A Texas federal court’s recent decision dismissing a challenge to an employer’s vaccine requirement may provide just the legal support some employers need to implement a vaccine mandate. Read more…
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has announced it will issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect healthcare workers from contracting coronavirus. Read more…
On May 17, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced the establishment of a COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force (“Task Force”) to ramp up enforcement efforts against COVID-19-related fraud.
Organized and led by Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, the Task Force convened its first meeting on May 28 and aims to “marshal the resources of the [DOJ] in partnership with agencies across government to enhance enforcement efforts against COVID-19 related fraud.” The Task Force will involve coordination among several DOJ components, including the Criminal and Civil Divisions, the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Key interagency partners” have also been invited to join the Task Force, including the Department of Labor, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Homeland Security, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Small Business Administration, the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Relief, and Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, among others.
In this episode of the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast: The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury jointly released a set of frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) related to recent changes made to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act effective as of February 10, 2021, and enacted by the Consolidated Appropriations Act at the end of 2020. Accordingly, health plans and insurers must ensure that they understand, and are prepared to provide regulators with documentation of their compliance with, parity requirements on at least a small group of specific non-quantitative treatment limits.
Best Lawyers, an international legal directory annually identifying the most prominent lawyers around the world by analyzing their professional skills and achievements during the year, once again lists Lidings’ experts among the best lawyers in Russia. Based on the results of the new Best Lawyers 2022 research published on June 10th, 2021, 13 Lidings’ lawyers are recognized among the top legal advisors in 14 key practice areas in Russia:
District Court Invalidates Medicare GME Regulation and Orders CMS to Recalculate Hospitals’ Medicare Reimbursement
Teaching hospitals should find that their Medicare reimbursement for training physicians will be a little sweeter thanks to a decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, et al. v. Becerra, No. 19-2680 (D.D.C. May 17, 2021). The hospitals challenged a 1997 regulation that set out a formula for counting the number of full-time residents and fellows. Under the Medicare statute, the government reimburses hospitals for salaries and administrative costs directly related to graduate medical education (“GME”). The statute contains a formula for determining the weighted number of full-time equivalent residents (“FTEs”) employed by the hospital. The formula weights FTEs based on the length of their employment, and imposes a cap on the number of FTEs that a hospital can count for Medicare reimbursement. 42 U.S.C. § 1395ww(h)(3-5). The formula also counts residents differently from fellows, who have completed a residency in a specialty and are receiving further training in a subspecialty; for purposes of the FTE count, the weighting factor for residents is 1.0 and for fellows the weighting factor is 0.5. 42 U.S.C. § 1395ww(h)(4)(C). Congress also capped the number of FTEs that can be counted for purposes of Medicare reimbursement at the FTE count for that hospital as of December 31, 1996.