Blog Archives

Healthcare Worker Minimum Wage Increase Put on Hold in Los Angeles and Downey but May Soon Take Effect in Two Other California Cities

As we reported, the Los Angeles City Council approved a new healthcare worker minimum wage ordinance, increasing the minimum wage for healthcare workers at private healthcare facilities in Los Angeles to $25.00 per hour. Similarly, the Downey City Council approved its own citywide healthcare worker minimum wage ordinance. For the moment, however, both ordinances are on pause. The Los Angeles ordinance would have gone into effect on August 13, 2022, and the Downey ordinance would have become effective on August 11, 2022.

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Los Angeles Private Hospitals: A Minimum Wage Increase for Health Care Workers Will Likely Take Effect This Year

On June 29, 2022, the Los Angeles City Council (“Council”) approved an ordinance that would raise the minimum wage for people working at “covered healthcare facilities” in the city of Los Angeles (“City”) to $25 per hour.

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Protecting Health Care Trade Secrets with Non-Competes and Other Covenants

How can health care employers use non-competes and other restrictive covenants to protect trade secrets? Attorneys Erik Weibust and Katherine Rigby explore the options available to employers, in an article for Law360.

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OSHA Reopens Rulemaking Record for a Permanent Standard to Protect Health Care Workers Against COVID-19 and Considers Expanding Its Scope

On March 22, 2022, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it had partially reopened the comment period for its permanent standard to protect health care and health care support workers from exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.

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Supreme Court Blocks OSHA Vax-or-Test ETS for Large Employers, Allows CMS Health Care Vax Rule

As explained in greater detail by our colleague Stuart M. Gerson, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down two major, and quickly decided, rulings on January 13, 2022. After hearing oral arguments only six days earlier, the Court issued two unsigned decisions per curiam. A 5-4 decision in Biden v. Missouri dissolved a preliminary injunction against enforcement of an interim final rule (“Rule”) promulgated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), requiring recipients of federal Medicare and Medicaid funding to ensure that their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.

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CMS Reverses Position and Will Begin Enforcement of Health Care Staff Vaccine Requirement

Reversing its prior position, CMS announced on December 28, 2021, that it would begin enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement, established by the interim final rule, published November 05, 2021, in 25 states and the District of Columbia[1] in a phased approach beginning January 27, 2022. With the announcement CMS issued guidance for surveyors regarding enforcement in S&C Memo QSO 22-07-ALL (“Memo”), describing how CMS will enforce the rule and how facilities that are non-compliant may avoid enforcement action if meeting certain threshold criteria during periods up to 90 days after issuance of the Memo as follows:

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Rare Hearing by the Supreme Court as to Stays in Vaccine Mandate Cases

On the evening of Wednesday, December 22, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it will hold a special session on January 7, 2022, to hear oral argument in cases concerning whether two Biden administration vaccine mandates should be stayed. One is an interim final rule promulgated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”); the other is an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). The CMS interim final rulepresently stayed in 24 states, would require COVID-19 vaccination for staff employed at Medicare and Medicaid certified providers and suppliers. The OSHA ETS, which requires businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure that workers are vaccinated against the coronavirus or otherwise to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing, was allowed to take effect when a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, to which the consolidated challenges had been assigned by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued a ruling, on December 17, 2021, lifting a stay that had been previously entered by the Fifth Circuit. Multiple private sector litigants and states immediately challenged the decision.

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Update: CMS Interim Final Rule Stay Lifted Nationwide, Still in Effect in Twenty-Four Plaintiff States

As we previously reported, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’s) interim final rule (the “Rule”) requiring full COVID-19 vaccination for staff and others at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers (i.e., the “vaccine mandate”) was effectively stayed nationwide on November 30, 2021, by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (the “Louisiana Court”).  In yet another twist to the ongoing legal battles, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit lifted the nationwide stay and held that the Louisiana Court only had authority to block the vaccine mandate in the fourteen plaintiff states that brought suit in that court. Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia.

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Supreme Court Lets New York’s Vaccine Mandate for Health Care Workers Stand

On December 13, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected the petition of New York health care workers seeking to stop the State from enforcing regulations requiring covered personnel of hospitals, nursing homes, public health centers, and other health care entities to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of continued employment, subject to narrow exceptions. The Supreme Court’s unsigned order allows the continuing enforcement of the regulations, as litigation of the multiple lawsuits challenging the statewide vaccine mandate for health care workers issued last August continues.

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CMS Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Testing in the Workplace

Important guidance regarding COVID-19 testing in the workplace was recently issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) in the form of Frequently Asked Questions regarding Over the Counter (“OTC”) Home Testing and CLIA Applicability.

CMS regulates clinical laboratory testing pursuant to the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (“CLIA”). Generally, a laboratory or clinical setting (such as a physician’s office) must obtain CLIA certification to perform laboratory testing. Some OTC tests, however, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for home use and the new FAQs address the use of OTC home tests in the workplace.

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