Throughout the COVID pandemic, healthcare employers have navigated the challenge of balancing safety concerns with employee requests for religious exemption from the vaccine.  Since lifting the stay of the CMS rule requiring certain healthcare workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the US Supreme Court (Court) has refused to enjoin state and city vaccine mandates for workers who seek religious exemptions from such mandates. On March 7, 2022, the full Court rejected, without comment, an emergency application for an injunction that was previously denied by Justice Sotomayor to prevent enforcement of the New York City Department of Education’s COVID-19 mandate against suspended workers who refused vaccination based on religion.  In the wake of continued challenges to vaccine mandates based on religion, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), released guidance on March  1, 2022 that addresses questions related to religious objections to vaccinations in the workplace. Healthcare employers should ensure that assessment of requests for religious exemptions for vaccine mandates comports with EEOC guidance.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues Employer Guidance for COVID-19 Vaccinations and Religious Objections

In this podcast episode, join our Labor Law Insiders as they discuss the unique vulnerabilities faced by the healthcare industry at this juncture of history, including the impact on bargaining and of expanded union organizing activities. Our Insiders also explore some actions that employers can take to reduce the possible conflicts between employees and management

For many healthcare employers, phase one and phase two COVID-19 vaccine deadlines are either here or quickly approaching. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), in an exercise of enforcement discretion, has begun monitoring covered CMS provider and supplier types for implementation of COVID-19 staff vaccination requirements in accordance with the COVID-19 Healthcare Staff Vaccination

On February 23, 2022, Judge Jeremy Kernodle of the Eastern District of Texas ruled that certain parts of the Interim Final Rule Part II (the Rule) implementing the No Surprises Act are invalid. Specifically, the provisions of the Rule governing the methodology for how arbitrators determine the amount of payments insurers and self-funded health plans

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently announced that its 2022 work plan for hospices will include a nationwide review of hospice beneficiary eligibility. In this episode, Husch Blackwell’s Meg Pekarske and Bryan Nowicki discuss what led to this latest effort by the OIG, what hospices can expect and what they should do. Listen today:

In this episode of the COVID-19 Hospice How-To Series, we discuss the most pressing vaccination issues and how to navigate them. Our team explores strategies for handling vendors, the role unvaccinated staff can have in direct patient care, obligations to require boosters and what enforcement may look like. This episode contains many helpful insights,

Hospices’ unique regulatory and business environment impacts how they contract with and relate to other private entities. In this episode, we discuss the many kinds of hospice-related contracts and contract-dispute matters they have worked on, and how their clients benefitted from their in-depth knowledge of hospices. Tune at: https://bit.ly/3JRIObe

Hospices and the False Claims Act Series

The False Claims Act (FCA) is the government’s most serious weapon to combat fraud in the healthcare community, and hospices are increasingly the target of FCA investigations and lawsuits. The United States Supreme Court is, for the first time, considering FCA cases involving hospices and certifications of terminal

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Executive Order 14042 (Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors), the resulting guidance and the recent array of class deviation contract clauses create interesting and novel federal contract compliance and practical workforce management considerations.

Husch Blackwell addressed the guidance shortly after it was first issued and has now developed a program to explore the topic at depth. Please join us as we discuss issues federal contractors and subcontractors of all tiers will have to consider now that federal agencies have started modifying existing federal contracts to include the new contract clauses, and identify ways you can prepare for and stay in compliance.
Continue Reading Navigating the Federal Contractor COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate: Legal and Practical Considerations for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors