coronavirus

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Facility Visitors, Religious Freedom, and COVID-19

by admin on November 6, 2020 No comments

fhlf hospital visiting rights during covidBy: David Davidson

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented hospitals and health care facilities with challenges that go beyond providing comprehensive care to patients suffering from the virus.  One of the most common challenges is how to handle patient visitors.  Denying or limiting visitors could be seen as a violation of patient rights, and denying access to a visit by clergy could rise to the level of religious discrimination.  After receiving a number of complaints in this regard, the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently provided some technical assistance to two hospitals that faced this issue.

In the first case, a COVID-positive patient in a Maryland hospital was separated from her newborn son.  Shaken by the separation, the patient requested that a priest be permitted to visit the baby, so he could baptize the child. But the hospital had instituted a ban on all hospital visitation in response to the pandemic, so the request was denied.

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Strategies for Successful Implementation of Mandatory Vaccine Policy for Your Workforce (Part 1)

by admin on November 1, 2020 No comments

fhlf mandatory vaccine for covidBy: Karen Davila

Can an employer require employees to be vaccinated against influenza?  And, a COVID-19 vaccine likely will be approved in the not-to-distant future.  What about that vaccine when it becomes available?  These are questions with which many organizations are grappling today.  With the confluence of what is expected to be a very active influenza season and the ongoing and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, employers are contemplating how best to protect their workforce and clients/customers/patients.

One of the most effective ways to achieve this is a mandatory vaccine policy, but is that right for your organization?  Mandatory vaccination programs are not new.  Depending on your business, a mandatory vaccine policy may be the industry norm.  What factors should you consider?  What processes would you need to develop to address exceptions?

CAN YOUR BUSINESS MANDATE VACCINATIONS?

In general the answer is yes.  Although federal and state laws may vary, such programs are permissible provided any mandatory vaccination policy incorporates processes to address the required exceptions: medical accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and religious accommodations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII).

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HHS to send $20B to healthcare providers: 5 things to know

by admin on October 7, 2020 No comments

fhlf hhs covid updateBy: Zach Simpson

HHS announced Oct. 1 that it is sending $20 billion in new funding to healthcare providers to help offset financial strain linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Five things to know:

1. Healthcare providers who previously received, rejected or accepted provider relief payments are eligible for the new funding.

2. Providers who were previously ineligible to receive relief funds, such as those who began practicing in 2020, can apply for a portion of the new relief aid.

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adminHHS to send $20B to healthcare providers: 5 things to know

Cold and Flu Season During a Pandemic

by admin on September 30, 2020 No comments

fhlf cold and flu during a pandemicBy: Dean Viskovich

What options do doctors have in determining if a patient has the flu or COVID-19?

The days of assuming a sniffle and low fever during the Fall are just signs of the common flu are long gone. The challenge doctors now face is determining whether a cough, temperature and sore throat is the flu or COVID-19. If the symptoms are essentially the same for both illnesses, what’s a doctor to do?  In the old days before Fall of 2019, a doctor would order a lab test to see if the patient tested positive for the flu. Today, a doctor who is faced (in person or virtually) with a patient with fever, chills, cough, runny nose, headaches and fatigue now must know if it is the seasonal flu or COVID-19. Ordering a COVID-19 test may seem like the obvious choice, but a more efficient alternative exists. Instead of a standalone COVID-19 test, ordering a comprehensive respiratory pathogen panel is a better decision.

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Healthcare App Data Sharing – Do’s and Don’ts

by admin on July 8, 2020 No comments

healthcare appBy: Steven Boyne

I recently wrote an article titled The Top Five Legal Concerns When Developing a Healthcare App, and I received some follow up questions, including technical queries about encryption and data sharing.  To answer these questions, it is important to understand the current Healthcare App state of affairs.  Various reporters, governmental agencies and privacy watchdogs have installed and monitored the flow of data from Healthcare Apps installed on smart phones.  These journals, articles and enforcement actions taken together provide a roadmap for Do’s and Don’ts for the sharing of data.

Almost all Healthcare Apps are free and have some disclosures about how they share your data, and both iOS and Android require the user to give permission to the newly installed App, but who really pays attention to that?  Almost no one.  However, this doesn’t mean that an App developer shouldn’t embrace best practices to avoid liability and bad press.

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Webinar | Maximizing COVID-19 Government Support Dollars

by admin on June 24, 2020 No comments

There are numerous COVID-19 grants available from the United States Government, spanning the addiction treatment industry to assisted living, hospitals and providers. There’s money for workplace modernization and for telehealth funding. But how does one keep it all straight and avoid missing out? Join Florida Healthcare Law Firm Attorney Steven Boyne for this informative webinar designed to share an overview and strategy for determining how best your healthcare business can be supported during this unprecedented public health emergency.

Webinar register here button

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The 3 Knocks Coming to your Healthcare Business’ Door Post-Pandemic: The Lawyers, The Regulators; and The Auditors

by admin on June 4, 2020 No comments

florida healthcare law firm audits after covidBy: Steven Boyne

When COVID-19 passes and the world begins to return to normal, you can be guaranteed that many of your old “friends” will come to visit you. To minimize future liability, pain and time, you should be preparing today for tomorrow’s visitors:

The Lawyers. Lawyers come in many flavors, and can bring good or bad news. Depending on your initial reaction to the pandemic, and your subsequent actions as the panic started to die down you may see three types of lawyers: (1) Those that represent past or present employees who have lost their job or contracted COVID-19; (2) Those that represent patients who claim malpractice based on the care that you did or did not deliver, and also those patients who assert that they contracted COVID-19 at your office; and finally (3) Those that represent creditors or debtors of your practice. The actions you should take today are many and varied and beyond the scope of this overview, however, you should be asking the following questions of yourself: (i) did you file a claim for business interruption despite the fact that your insurance broker said you were wasting your time? (ii) does your malpractice carrier cover you for liability outside of the normal scope of providing care? (iii) are your documenting your actions throughout the pandemic to demonstrate that you were acting reasonably at a time when you did not have all the facts? (iv) did you look at your business insurance policies for coverage for employee claims, or workers comp claims, or OSHA claims? (v) did you research what other similarly situated companies are doing, as you will most likely be held to the same standards? (vi) did you follow guidance from State and Federal entities? and (vii) did you provide notice during the pandemic to debtors or other parties who have breached their obligations?

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adminThe 3 Knocks Coming to your Healthcare Business’ Door Post-Pandemic: The Lawyers, The Regulators; and The Auditors

Avoiding HIPAA Violations During COVID-19

by admin on May 27, 2020 No comments

telehealth laws after covid-19By: Steven Boyne

The COVID-19 virus has and will probably continue to change the way healthcare providers and business associates interact and help their patients. As many providers are aware, a HIPAA violation is a serious issue, and can cost a healthcare entity large amounts of time and money to respond to any regulatory investigation. Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has strained every corner of the economy and is THE MOST IMPORTANT issue for almost every industry, the federal government has rolled back some HIPAA protections. It is unclear how long these rollbacks will last, and it is possible that some of them may be permanent, but for now healthcare providers and their business associates can take some comfort that they can focus on delivering care and not dealing with overly burdensome regulations and investigations. The major changes include:

  • Telehealth. Changes include allowing physicians and other healthcare providers to offer telehealth services across State lines, so State licensing issues should not be a concern. Additionally, Providers are essentially free to choose almost any app to interact with their patients, even if it does not fully comply with the HIPAA rules. The HHS allows the provider to use their business judgment, but of course, such communications should NOT be public facing – which means DO NOT allow the public to watch or participate in the visit!
  • Disclosures of Protected Health Information (PHI). A good faith disclosure of such information will not be prosecuted. Examples include allowing a provider or business associate to share PHI for such purposes as controlling the spread of COVID-19, providing COVID-19 care, and even notifying the media, even if the patient has not, or will not grant his or her permission.
  • Business Associate Agreement (BAA). As most healthcare providers know, a BAA agreement between a provider and an entity that may have access to PHI is required by law. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of a BAA is not an automatic violation.
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Webinar | Maximizing COVID-19 Government Support Dollars

by admin on May 27, 2020 No comments
There are 116 specific COVID-19 grants available from the United States Government, spanning the addiction treatment industry to assisted living, hospitals and providers. There’s money for workplace modernization and for telehealth funding. But how does one keep it all straight and avoid missing out? Join Florida Healthcare Law Firm Attorney Steven Boyne for this informative webinar designed to share an overview and strategy for determining how best your healthcare business can be supported during this unprecedented public health emergency.

In case you missed it:

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Webinar | Virtual Practices: Turning Challenges into Opportunities

by admin on May 20, 2020 No comments

Florida Healthcare Law Firm Attorney Chase Howard will cover the top 10 questions healthcare providers and businesses are asking related to COVID-19. He will provider solutions and strategies to implement to help you through this pandemic and be better prepared for the new normal of the future. Submit your questions in advance!

In case you missed it:

 

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adminWebinar | Virtual Practices: Turning Challenges into Opportunities