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The Masks Are Back: New OSHA Regulations for Healthcare Employers

Client Alert

Employment Law After Hours is back with a News Break Episode. Yesterday, OSHA published new rules for healthcare facilities, including hospitals, home health employers, nursing homes, ambulance companies, and assisted living facilities. These new rules are very cumbersome, requiring mask wearing for all employees, even those that are vaccinated. The only exception is for fully vaccinated employees (2 weeks post final dose) who are in a "well-defined" area where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present.

These new regulations also require the implementation of a compliant COVID-19 safety policy, COVID case record keeping for employees (regardless of whether the infection came from work or outside of work), and it discusses and requires many of the best practices most of our healthcare clients have followed since day one, among other requirements. Many of the regulations require implementation within 14 to 30 days, so your clients will want to speak with their OSHA expert as soon as possible. BMD has a few OSHA knowledgeable attorneys that can be available to answer questions/concerns. Your clients will want to implement these new requirements alongside their OSHA certified employees who handle existing OSHA issues/concerns.

Stephen Matasich, one of our resident OSHA attorneys, has also published a client alert for general industry employers other than healthcare.

What healthcare providers are specifically exempt from these new regulations?

  1. Non-Hospital Ambulatory Care Setting where (a) all non-employees are screened prior to entry, and (b) people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter.
  2. Hospital Ambulatory Care Setting where (a) all employees are fully vaccinated, (b) all non-employees are screened prior to entry, and (c) people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter.
  3. Home Healthcare Setting when (a) all employees are fully vaccinated, (b) all non-employees are screened prior to entry, and (c) people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not permitted to enter.

The new OSHA regulations also require these employers to provide paid leave for vaccination obtainment, and its side effects, which we previously covered in an ELAH episode, link provided below. I also provided the link to the mandatory vaccine episode as healthcare clients may now desire to implement a mandatory vaccine policy given these new requirements.

Link to watch this Breaking News episode on the new OSHA requirements is here: https://youtu.be/vPyXmKwOzsk

Link to Paid COVID Leave (including Vaccination Obtainment) is here: https://youtu.be/NOv0_R_SMpg

Link to Episode on Mandatory Vaccine Policies is herehttps://youtu.be/rWqGbOzWzWw and https://youtu.be/5CrBCjK2rv8 (with updated EEOC guidance).

For more information, please feel free to contact BMD Labor + Employment Partner Bryan Meek at bmeek@bmdllc.com or 330.253.5586.


Valley National Bank/Trulieve Loan: A Big Step Out of the Shadows

In a late December press release, Trulieve announced that it had secured a $71.5 million commercial bank loan. In addition to the amount of the loan, which may be the largest commercial bank loan to date to a cannabis company, the release prominently identified Valley Bank and featured both a quote from Valley’s Senior Vice President, John Myers, and a description of the Bank’s service platform and commitment to the cannabis industry.

The End of Non-Competes? The Impact It Will Have on the Healthcare Industry

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a proposed rule that, if enacted, will ban employers from entering into non-compete clauses with workers (the “Rule”), and the Rule would void existing non-compete agreements. In their Notice, the FTC stated that if the Rule were to go into effect, they estimate the overall earnings of employees in the United States could increase by $250 billion to $296 billion per year. The Rule would also require employers to rescind non-competes that they had already entered into with their workers. For purposes of the Rule, the FTC has defined “worker” to also include any employees, interns, volunteers, and contractors.”

2022 Healthcare Recap and 2023 Healthcare Check-Up

As the country begins to return to a new “normal” following the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many healthcare rules changing on both the federal and state levels as a result. Thus, it is important for healthcare providers and their employers to be aware of these changing rules, and any implications they may have on their practice. Look back on healthcare in 2022 and find a checklist for 2023.

Direct Support Professional Retention Payments

On December 15, the Ohio Senate and House passed House Bill 45, which authorizes the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), in conjunction with the county boards of developmental disabilities, to launch their initiative to issue retention payments to Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). These retention payments will be distributed quarterly to participating home and community-based waiver providers to address the workforce crisis in the direct provider sector. Governor DeWine needs to sign the Bill to begin the payments, but he is expected to do so by the end of 2022.

Real Estate Investors Position for 2023 Opportunities

Real estate investors weathered another year in a post-pandemic world, with the year closing with yet another interest rate increase coupled with both uncertainty and heightened interest carrying into 2023. Just last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate 0.50 percentage points, shifting the target range to 4.25% to 4.50%. The new level is the highest the fed funds rate has been since December 2007 and marks the seventh rate hike this year. So what does this mean to investors, brokers, lenders, and others in the real estate world? Read a few perspectives below from stakeholders familiar with our BMD clients and the markets in which they do business.