North America

Regulators Clarify COVID-19 Relief Deadline Extension

Plan sponsors and administrators have been grappling with how to handle the possible expiration of the extension relief granted for certain deadlines applicable to group health plans under the “Joint Notice” published in May 2020 (the 2020 Guidance). With just two days to go before the 2020 Guidance was set to expire on February 28, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL), in coordination with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (collectively with the DOL, the Agencies), issued the EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01 (the Notice), which clarified that the extension relief granted under the 2020 Guidance will extend past the February 28, 2021 statutory expiration date. Read more…

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Illinois Department of Labor Issues Guidance on Providing Leave for Employees to Get Vaccinated

The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) has issued March 2021 guidance for employers on “Compensation, Paid Leave and the COVID-19 Vaccine,” advising employers on providing employees with time off and flexibility in order to get the first (and as necessary, the second dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mandatory Vaccination Programs

The IDOL guidance states that pursuant to the Illinois Minimum Wage Law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, if an employer requires employees to get vaccinated, then the time the employee spends getting the vaccine “is likely compensable,” even if the employee gets vaccinated during non-working time.

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Unlocking Value in Health Data: Truveta’s Data Monetization Strategy Carries Big Risks and Responsibilities

Alaap B. Shah and Nivedita B. Patel, attorneys in the Health Care & Life Sciences practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, co-authored an article in MobiHealthNews, titled “Unlocking Value in Health Data: Truveta’s Data Monetization Strategy Carries Big Risks and Responsibilities.”

Following is an excerpt:

In today’s world, data is power. Healthcare providers have massive amounts of rich health data at their fingertips. Yet historically, third-party vendors to healthcare providers often have derived financial benefits from secondary use of this data through aggregating and brokering de-identified data to downstream customers.

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New York City Council Establishes Board to Assess Employers’ COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Protocols and Training

Our colleagues Susan Gross Sholinsky, Nancy Guzenhauser Popper, Eric Emanuelson, and Christopher Shur of Epstein Becker Green have a new post on the Workforce Bulletin blog that will be of interest to our readers: “New York City Council Establishes Board to Assess Employers’ COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Protocols and Training.”

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New York City Council Establishes Board to Assess Employers’ COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Protocols and Training

The New York City Council is planning to evaluate how effectively both the City, as an employer, and private employers disseminated and implemented COVID-19 workplace guidance over the past year with the goal of strengthening how the public and private sectors manage future public health emergencies. On February 28, 2021, the Council enacted Int. 2161-2020 (the “Law”), which establishes a board to review the workplace health and safety guidance that agencies and private employers issued to their respective employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The newly formed board will ultimately submit a final report and recommendations to the Mayor and Speaker of the Council by December 15, 2021. The Law is effective immediately.

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OSHA’s role to expand in combating the COVID-19 pandemic

Until just recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency responsible for keeping employees safe at work, has played a very limited role in doing so during the COVID-19 pandemic. That is about to change, however, with President Joe Biden’s issuance of an executive order on January 21, 2021, which calls the agency to action in protecting American workplaces. Read more…

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SCOTUS Today: Court Declines Resolving Circuit Split on What Constitutes a “False” Claim, but Will Consider Legality of Trump Abortion Gag Rule

Our colleagues Stuart Gerson and Daniel Fundakowski of Epstein Becker Green have a new post on SCOTUS Today that will be of interest to our readers: “Court Declines Resolving Circuit Split on What Constitutes a ‘False’ Claim, but Will Consider Legality of Trump Abortion Gag Rule.”

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Upcoming Insurance Coverage Dispute Deadlines for COVID-19 Claims

As companies continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on their businesses and the consequential loss of income suffered as a result of interruptions and/or shutdowns to their operations, policyholders should be aware of a number of key factors that could affect its ability to bring suit against its insurer.

Suit Limitation Clauses

An important stipulation within first-party policies (property, business interruption, event cancellation, etc.) to be cognizant of are suit limitation clauses. First-party insurance policies typically contain a clause entitled “legal action against us” or “suit against us” that outlines time restrictions imposed by the policy in permitting suits to be brought to contest a coverage position. Such provisions can vary by policy, but may be as restrictive as limiting suits to be brought within one year of the inception of a loss. Read more…

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Bias in Healthcare Algorithms

The application of artificial intelligence technologies to health care delivery, coding and population management may profoundly alter the manner in which clinicians and others interact with patients, and seek reimbursement. While on one hand, AI may promote better treatment decisions and streamline onerous coding and claims submission, there are risks associated with unintended bias that may be lurking in the algorithms. AI is trained on data. To the extent that data encodes historical bias, that bias may cause unintended errors when applied to new patients. This can result in errors in utilization management, coding, billing and healthcare delivery.

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Podcast: Congressional Health Care Legislative Agenda – Diagnosing Health Care

The 117th Congressional health care agenda, including COVID-19 related action, will require 60 votes in the Senate or passage through budget reconciliation. In the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast, attorneys Mark Lutes, Philo Hall, and Timothy Murphy discuss the prospects for additional coronavirus relief and what that would mean for stakeholders, as well as the possibility for coverage expansion through changes to the Affordable Care Act or Medicaid.

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