Provided by:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.
May 5, 2020
 
Question:

Jennifer,

What is my first step towards opening/bringing employees back?  I'm receiving messages from employees they do not want to return.  They would rather remain on unemployment.   Thoughts? 

Dr. P

Answer: 

This is the current conundrum for most of your colleagues.  I have an organized plan for you, and, no, it is not my job to be your employee's advocate.  My job is to assist the practice owner/physician to operate.  

Some of your employees will answer your call, no questions asked, and return to work (40% - is what I'm seeing).   Some of your employees will answer and ask or raise concern about how they will be protected once they return, but will return (10-20%).  Some will tell you to stop calling them, they aren't coming back until the government gives the "all clear" or a vaccine is released en mass.  

Now what? 

As a first step, I recommend for those employees who are looking to return, and for yourself and your patients, adopt written protocols for COVID-19.  Some of you may be compiling yourselves, some of you may be receiving forms from specialty societies or other sources.   I can only tell you what I have developed and recommend as you open.  Based on what I've learned the past 6 weeks, the best recommendation I can make is for the employer to take a 3 prong approach - 1. develop protocols your employees have to follow and sign off on; 2. develop an informed consent for patients (which will educate patients on your approach to COVID-19 and have them agree to be seen face to face); and 3. adopt your employer set of rules you will follow.   Best place to start for crafting your own - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/preparedness-checklists.html

We've already done the work if you prefer to utilize our approach.  We have incorporated release language, covenant not to sue, indemnification and hold harmless provisions so you may rehire staff and engage with patients/customers with written protocols and confidence.

I pre-recorded a short explanation of what we have compiled.  Explanation Webinar available here.  

Here is the description - 
  1. Staff COVID-19 Protocol with Acknowledgement and Employer Liability Protection*
  2. Patient/Customer Informed Consent with Liabilty Protection*
  3. Specialty specific Employer Guidelines 
*While recommended, release from liability for contraction of COVID-19 at your facility or by your staff is not guaranteed. Case law indicates properly worded language may be enforceable. Informed consent is insurance carrier and association recommended.

To order K&K COVID-19 Protocols email Jennifer at Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com. Package Price: $250. Association members affiliated with K&K also qualify for a 15 minute free consult discussing roll out and best practices.

What about the employees refusing to return out of fear or complacency (receiving unemployment)? 

Each state has a mechanism to notify the unemployment office you have offered a recipient the right to return to work.  Available work is a disqualifying event for unemployment recipients.  Those of you who have received PPP and wish to rehire staff, they are not allowed to maintain unemployment benefit.  You can document the availability of work (in writing) and report the position and desire to rehire to the unemployment office.  

NYS Unemployment https://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/ui/IA318.2.pdf (see page 8)- 

NYS Department of Labor 
PO Box 15130 
Albany, NY 12212-5130 
OR Fax to: (518) 402-6175 
If you are able to reemploy a claimant, contact the claimant directly. The claimant’s address appears on the initial Notice of Potential Charges (LO 400). If the claimant refuses rehire or fails to report to work, notify us in writing at the address above. When you notify us, provide: 
  • The date the claimant refused work or failed to report to work 
  • The type of employment offered  
  • The wages offered for the position We consider an employment offer acceptable to the claimant if it offers the prevailing wage for similar work, even if: 
    • The amount is less than the claimant earned on the last job 
    • The amount is less than the salary desired 
After collecting 13 full weeks of UI benefits, the claimant may also be required to accept any employment that he or she is capable of performing if:  
  • It offers the prevailing wage 
  • The pay is at least 80% of the claimant’s base period high quarter wages
     
 
K&K Recommended Roadmap to Re-Open
Written Protocols for Restoring staff. Adopting best practices for screening and cleaning. Protecting from liability.
We have finished COVID Protocols for Staff and Patients, specialty specific.  If you have not told us yet you want a copy, email me directly.   We are charging a nominal fee ($250) for compiling to cover the collective time expenditure it took us to prepare.  




Webinars to catch up on - 
 
1) K&K Recommended Roadmap to Reopen - https://youtu.be/dvxpKV8PYiE - About our Written Protocols for Restoring staff. Adopting best practices for screening and cleaning. Protecting from liability.
 
2) TOPICS DIEI 'TOPICS OF THE DAY' - https://youtu.be/7p9Y7A88tCg - Join Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq. for a discussion on - Elective Procedures - what are they and when can I reopen? Medicare GRANT Discussion; Preparing for Re-Open - Employees and Patients FAQs (how to get employees off of unemployment)

3) Regal Healthcare Capital Partners - Market Update - Watch Now Here: https://youtu.be/w7UAJAsnuOk

4) HEALTHCARE - STIMULUS UPDATE, VENDOR AND ASSOCIATE CONTRACT AND HOMEWORK FOR REBOOT -  Watch Now Here: https://youtu.be/mWbSiWkpWQc?t=1

5) K&K CARES ACT STIMULUS OVERVIEW (PPP AND EIDL GRANT), DOCTOR STIMULUS AND EMPLOYMENT FAQS  -  Watch Now Here: https://youtu.be/lNdiKFoNN-4?t=1

6) CONDUCTING AND IMPLEMENTING SECURITY RISK ASSESSMENT RECOMMENDATIONS -  Watch Now Here:  https://youtu.be/8_djEyIqtyc?t=2
 
 
For other areas, such as Breach Reporting, Employment Contracting, Compliance Advice, etc., view our database of Webinars here  https://www.kirschenbaumesq.com/page/healthcare-webinars.   Now is a great time for brushing up on best practices for the "Business of Practice".   


Looking for information on a topic we have not covered, or you want covered again, email Jennifer at Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com.