NAHC COVID-19 Town Hall – Part III: Vaccine Hesitancy Among Caregivers

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) will present an important new webinar in our COVID-19 Town Hall series, Vaccine Hesitancy Among Caregivers, Part 3, on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 from 2:00PM to 3:00PM Eastern. This webinar is free to all, but registration is required. If you have registered for any of the…

HCBS News Roundup

Biden Addresses the Nation President Joe Biden delivered his first prime-time address to the nation last night, setting a timetable for a return to something resembling normality and almost begging Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccines and continue to abide by social distancing guidelines. Biden ordered states to make all adults eligible for the vaccine…

Billing Codes and Rates issued for the J&J Covid-19 Vaccine

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated the COVID-19 vaccine billing and coding list to reflect the newly Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. The J&J vaccine was approved through emergency use authorization and is listed as the Janssen Biotech, Inc. vaccine, the pharmaceutical companies of J&J. The…

CDC Issues Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new interim recommnedation for people who have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 coronavirus, urging people to remain vigilant against infection and spreading even after full vaccination. The new guidance provides recommendations for fully vaccinated people, including: How fully vaccinated people can safely visit with…

NAHC COVID-19 Town Hall: Vaccine Hesitancy Among Caregivers

The National Association for Home Care will present an important edition in its COVID-19 Town Hall webinar series, Vaccine Hesitancy Among Caregivers. The webinar will air on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 from 2:00PM to 3:00PM Eastern. The webinar is free to all, but registration is required. REGISTER NAHC has been at the forefront of COVID-19…

Critical New Webinar: Covid Vaccine and Your Workforce

Tune into a one-hour webinar featuring top experts in home care on the current trends and state of navigating the COVID-19 vaccine with your caregiver employees.

The webinar will air live on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 from 1:00PM Eastern Time (12:00PM CT) and will last for 60 minutes.

The webinar is complimentary, but open only to the first 1000 registrants.

REGISTER NOW

Want to know if you should mandate vaccine, how to track it, how other agencies are navigating various State requirements, and how to message your team to both stay compliant and inspire caregivers to get the shot? Join us for a powerful session to explore the latest trends and to get answers from Littler home care labor attorney, Angelo Spinola.

Speakers:

Angelo Spinola
Shareholder | Littler

Brandi Kurtyka
Chief Executive Officer | myCNAjobs

Questions can be submitted prior and a minimum of 30-minutes will be dedicated to live Q&A.  

Can’t make it? Register for a recording to be distributed the day after the webinar.

The Race for a COVID-19 Vaccine

Many of you have been asking whether you can make the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for your employees now that it is starting to become available. In most states, employees within our industry will be included in the first tier of recipients. But what does this mean, given that some polls suggest 40% of the population wouldn’t voluntarily get vaccinated? Can we require employees to get vaccinated?

To answer those questions, Littler has published a 29 page-white paper. The Readers Digest version – along with some additional thoughts – are below. We covered this topic during the December 15 virtual home care and hospice presentation with Bill Dombi of the National Association of Home Care & Hospice. If you have not yet done so, you can register to watch the event here.

  • We recommend waiting before taking a firm position on “mandatory” vaccinations.

o  First, you must understand the actual vaccine that is potentially available to your workforce. Are there any exclusions in the emergency use authorizations on who is eligible for the vaccine from a medical perspective (i.e., people with certain preexisting conditions)? You wouldn’t want to make it mandatory for them to get vaccinated.

o  We also need to know more about the side effects and how effective the vaccines are in practical use. You could see the potential argument if you made employees choose between their job and a brand new vaccine that may have negative side effects and not be as effective as initially thought.

o  Waiting will also give you time to see how your workforce is reacting to the new vaccines. Are they enthusiastic or reticent?

o  Similarly, it is good to know how the rest of the industry will respond. There is a safety in numbers, particularly when we know plaintiff attorneys are circling on this issue.

o  Also, maybe the government will make the call for you. As you know, some states require flu shots for healthcare workers, so it is possible certain state governments could treat a COVID-19 vaccination the same way.

  • It is important to note the quotation marks I used above. I did that because employers really cannot make vaccinations completely mandatory. They must always allow ex
    ceptions based on health and religious beliefs.

o  The EEOC already has stated that employees may be entitled to an exemption from a mandatory vaccination requirement based on an ADA disability that prevents them from taking the influenza vaccine, and there is no reason to believe that the EEOC would stray from this view when dealing with a vaccine for COVID-19. (Note that a similar analysis would apply to pregnant employees.)

o  Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, once an employer receives notice that an employee’s sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance prevents him or her from taking the vaccine, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation unless it would pose an undue hardship as defined by Title VII. This is a tricky area – you would want to talk to an attorney before terminating someone who refuses to vaccinate on religious grounds.

  • A few other points:

o  Mandatory vaccinations may lead to potential workers’ compensation claims from employees who suffer an adverse reaction to a potential vaccine.

o  An employer that does not adopt measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at work adequately may face liability for failure to comply with its general duty to provide a safe workplace.

o  It is likely that robust workplace safety policies, even in the absence of an employer vaccination mandate, can meet this obligation, particularly based on the anticipated level of uncertainty regarding the effectiveness and/or potential side effects of a vaccine.

Given all of this, let me offer a few suggestions some of our clients are using to encourage employees to become vaccinated:

·     Pay employees who get vaccinated a one-time bonus (probably the best option of the three).

·     Limit shifts for those who do not get vaccinated to nonclient facing roles, citing patient safety concerns.

·     Require employees who do not get vaccinated to use PTO concurrent with any sick leave for quarantining.

As a final note, you also might be interested to know that teachers are in Phase 1B of the CDC/ACIP vaccination plan, which could start within the month. This is important to the extent you have employees who cannot work because their kids are home and unable to attend school in person. We hope this means we will be returning to regular order in the near future.

COVID-19 Vaccine Resolution from the NAHC Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) have unanimously adopted a resolution to encourage all home care and hospice staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at the earliest possible time, consistent with the vaccine guidance. Furthermore, the resolution urges all home care and hospice operators to provide staff…

Feds to Ship 150 Million Fast COVID Tests to Care Facilities

NAHC working to ensure home care gets tests The federal government has contracted with Abbott Laboratories to send 150 million rapid coronavirus tests to assisted living facilities and other care providers in the very near future. Assisted living facilities will be followed by senior day care centers and home health agencies in getting the tests,…