Blog Archives

Podcast: Owner’s Outlook: National Trends in Construction Claims – Diagnosing Health Care

In this episode of the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast:  The past three years have been tumultuous in the health care construction economy, and the patterns in recent construction claims might surprise some. Which types of claims are popping up, in what regions are they appearing, and what types of facilities are involved?

On this episode of our Owner’s Outlook series, hear from special guest Brett Lamb, co-founder and CEO of Construction Discovery Experts.

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Following the Recent Regulatory Trends, NLRB General Counsel Seeks to Limit Employers’ Use of Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace

On October 31, 2022, the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) released Memorandum GC 23-02 urging the Board to interpret existing Board law to adopt a new legal framework to find electronic monitoring and automated or algorithmic management practices illegal if such monitoring or management practices interfere with protected activities under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”).  The Board’s General Counsel stated in the Memorandum that “[c]lose, constant surveillance and management through electronic means threaten employees’ basic ability to exercise their rights,” and urged the Board to find that an employer violates the Act where the employer’s electronic monitoring and management practices, when viewed as a whole, would tend to “interfere with or prevent a reasonable employee from engaging in activity protected by the Act.”  Given that position, it appears that the General Counsel believes that nearly all electronic monitoring and automated or algorithmic management practices violate the Act.

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Companies That Use Noncompetes Face Increased Risk of Government Action Following FTC’s Unilateral Expansion of its Enforcement Powers

Perhaps we were wrong. Or perhaps we were just not thinking creatively enough. After President Biden issued his “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” in which he “encourage[d]” the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “consider” exercising its statutory rulemaking authority “to curtail the unfair use of non-compete clauses and other clauses or agreements that may unfairly limit worker mobility,” we assumed that Lina Khan, the 33-year-old Biden-appointed Chair of the FTC (and a vocal opponent of noncompetes), would take the torch and propose a Rule prohibiting, or at the very least severely limiting, the use of noncompetes. And she may still do so.

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Just Released: Telemental Health Laws – Download Our Complimentary Survey and App

Interest in and acceptance of telehealth services continues to grow. Recent events, like the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, have put more pressure than ever on federal and state legislators to promote access to telehealth services.

However, the greater use of telehealth services also increases the potential for fraudulent behavior and enforcement activity. Providers should continue to monitor developments in federal and state laws, regulations, and policies to capitalize on telehealth opportunities while staying compliant with applicable laws.

Since 2016, Epstein Becker Green has researched, compiled, and analyzed state-specific content relating to the regulatory requirements for professional mental/behavioral health practitioners and stakeholders seeking to provide telehealth-focused services. We are pleased to release our latest compilation of state telehealth laws, regulations, and policies within the mental/behavioral health practice disciplines.

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First Circuit Upholds Employer’s Win in Retaliation Suit

On November 1, 2022, in Dusel v. Factory Mutual Ins. Co., the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that “close temporal proximity” alone does not establish pretext as this evidence “must be considered alongside the . . . record.” Nor does mere close temporal proximity establish pretext where the employer has a legitimate business reason for taking adverse action against the employee, and more particularly, where the employer subsequently discovers the employee’s misconduct in a separate, unrelated matter. Dusel is a win for employers because it signals that engaging in protected activity will not immunize an employee from the consequences of misconduct that violates company policy if the employer enforces its policy consistently and documents the reasons underlying the employee’s discipline.

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D.C. Voters Vote to Phase out Tip Credit and Nebraska Voters Raise State Minimum Wage

On Tuesday, November 8, 2022, Washington, D.C. voters approved a ballot measure to eliminate the “tip credit” which allowed service industry employers to pay servers, bartenders, and other tipped employees $5.35 an hour rather than D.C.’s $16.10 per hour minimum wage. Currently, employers are required to pay the balance if an employee is unable to make up the difference through tips. Initiative 82 will phase out the tip credit, raising the tip credit minimum wage to $6.00 in January 2023, and then to $8 on July 1, 2023, and then increasing by $2.00 every year until 2027. In 2027, D.C. service industry employers will be required to pay employees at D.C.’s effective minimum wage.

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Massachusetts Non-Compete Laws: 2022 Update

Thomson Reuters Practical Law has released the 2022 update to “Non-Compete Laws: Massachusetts,” a Q&A guide to non-compete agreements between employers and employees for private employers in Massachusetts, authored by our colleagues David J. Clark and Erik Weibust, attorneys at Epstein Becker Green.

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Time Spent Booting Up Computers May Be Compensable, According to Unanimous 9th Circuit

In reversing a Nevada district court’s grant of summary judgment, the Ninth Circuit, in Cadena v. Customer Connexx LLC, recently held that the time call center employees spent booting up their computers is compensable. Because a functioning computer was necessary for the call center employees to do their job, the court unanimously agreed that the time required to turn on their computer and log in was “integral and indispensable to their principal activities” and, therefore, compensable, subject to certain limitations.

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Give the People What They Want: Five States Put Abortion Questions on the Ballot

In the wake of the landmark decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, we have been closely monitoring legal developments across the country. In addition to well publicized “trigger laws” that were effectuated as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s order, states have taken up a variety of legislative actions in response to the ruling, which placed authority for the regulation of abortion with the states.

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Rural Emergency Hospitals – CY 2023 OPPS Final Rule Includes Additional Information on New Medicare Provider Type

Announced in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Rural Emergency Hospitals (REHs) will be a new type of Medicare provider starting January 1, 2023.  REHs are meant to help address the stressed health care system of rural providers by providing an option to closure for distressed critical access hospitals (CAHs) and small rural hospitals.

Existing CAHs and rural hospitals with fewer than 50 beds will be eligible to convert to an REH.  CMS is streamlining this process so that this conversion to be an REH can be accomplished through a change of information on an existing Medicare 855A enrollment rather than through a new provider application, which carries potentially significant delays and potential gaps in payment.  REHs are designed to provide primarily emergency department, observation, and outpatient services.  Because REHs will not provide inpatient care, an area that often creates a significant financial and operational burden on CAHs and small rural hospitals, REHs will allow locally-delivered healthcare to continue to be furnished by existing providers.

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