DOL Issues Long-Awaited Proposed Overtime Rule

On March 7, 2019, the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) issued the long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) which proposes changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime provisions.  These proposed changes, which are detail in the 219-page document, follow nearly three years of legal actions challenging the USDOL’s 2016 proposed FLSA overtime changes. A quick history on these proposed changes.  On May 23, 2016, the USDOL issued the 2016 FLSA proposed overtime rule changes that would have more than doubled the minimum salary thresholds for the so called “white collar” overtime exemptions.  Under the 2016 proposed rule, the minimum salary threshold would have increased from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $913 per week ($47, 476 per year) and the Highly Compensated Employee (HCE) salary level from $100,000 to $134,000 annually.  Just before the changes were about to become effective, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas invalidated the proposed rule stating that the USDOL lacked the authority to propose these changes.  Shortly thereafter, the proposed changes were put on hold. This latest proposed rule formally rescinds the 2016 proposed rule and would provide for updates to the standard salary level...

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EEOC Extends EEO-1 Reporting Deadline

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had announced that it has postponed the opening of EEO-1 data reporting until early March and also extended the deadline for employers to submit their EEO-1 data until May 31, 2019.  The EEOC has cited that these deadlines have been postponed due to the lapse in funding as a result of government shut down.  The EEO-1 is an annual survey that requires all private employers with 100 or more employees and federal government contractors or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a federal contract, sub­contract or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more to file the EEO-1 report.  The EEO-1 Report data includes data about wages, gender, and race/ethnicity of the employer’s workforce by job type groupings.  This data is used by the EEOC to ensure compliance with the Federal non-discrimination laws.  For additional information about filing your organization’s EEO-1 Report, visit the EEOC’s employer resource page or contact the AAA for assistance....

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HHS OCR Requests Feedback on HIPAA Privacy Rule

On January 28, 2019, the Office of Health and Human Services the Office for Civil Rights (HHS OCR) issues a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from covered entities regarding several aspects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  Specifically, the HHS OCR is seeking input regarding several elements of the Privacy Rule, including the following: Encouraging information-sharing for treatment and care coordination Facilitating parental involvement in care Addressing the opioid crisis and serious mental illness Accounting for disclosures of PHI for treatment, payment, and health care operations as required by the HITECH Act Changing the current requirement for certain providers to make a good faith effort to obtain an acknowledgment of receipt of the Notice of Privacy Practices I am aware that several AAA member services who have struggled with many of the HIPAA restrictions regarding the sharing of PHI with other healthcare entities.  In particular, with regard to individuals who suffer opioid overdoses and efforts to ensure the individual has access to drug treatment programs.  Additionally, HHS OCR is seeking input from covered healthcare providers regarding the “good faith” efforts to obtain acknowledgement of the receipt of Privacy Practices.  This has been a considerable challenge for...

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OSHA Injury Tracking Update

Earlier this week the AAA reminded its members of their obligation to post their 2018 injury data represented on the OSHA Form 300A in all work sites from February 1st through April 30th.  In addition, all EMS employers are required to report all injury data on the OSHA Injury Tracking Application (ITA).  Historically, all EMS employers were to electronically report the data represented on Form 300A.  However, larger employers (250 or more) also had to electronically submit the injury specific information from the Form 300 and Form 301 to the ITA.  OSHA announced yesterday that employers that larger employers will no longer be required to submit the information from Forms 300 and 301.  Citing privacy concerns, OSHA announced that employers of all sizes will only be required to submit the workplace injury summary information from Form 300A.

OSHA Reminder 2019

OSHA Injury Posting & Reporting of 2018 Injury Data It is important that employers remember that they must post a copy of their OSHA Form 300A which is a summary of workplace injuries starting February 1, 2018 through April 30, 2018.  The OSHA Form 300A is a summary of all job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in an employer’s workplace during 2018.  If a company recorded no injuries or illnesses in 2018, the employer must enter “zero” on the total line. The form must be signed and certified by a company executive. The OSHA Form 300A Injury Summary must be displayed in a common area where notices to employees are usually posted.  In addition to posting these reports in the workplace, covered employers should be electronically submitting their 2018 workplace injury data to OSHA via the Injury Tracking Application (ITA).  If members need assistance with the workplace posting or electronic injury reporting submission, contact the AAA. 2019 OSHA Penalty Adjustment Also, a reminder to employers who are subject to OSHA or to those who operate in a state with an OSHA approved state level plan, the penalty amounts for OSHA violations are increasing effective the publication of the new rates...

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EMS in Crisis

An article published recently by The New Yorker highlights a public health issue that has been growing every year since I started in EMS back in 1990.  As a member a suburban community and an on-call Firefighter/EMT, I have watched as our community has struggled to maintain staffing levels such that we can meaningfully respond to emergencies.  When I was growing up in this community, many of our fire department members worked at businesses located within our community and were owned by other community members who supported their member’s duty to respond.  Additionally, many members had a spouse or other family member at home to keep an eye on the children so that they could drop everything to help their neighbor. Today, many locally owned businesses have closed and employers cannot or chose not to let their employees leave work to help others in their town.  Even if employers will let their employees drop everything to respond, there are fewer people interested in volunteering for their local fire or EMS based service despite an all-time high in volunteerism in the U.S.  In addition, those who operate EMS organizations with paid EMS professionals have also been struggling for many years with (more…)

HHS Releases Communication Checklist to Aid First Responders

HHS Releases Checklist to Aid First Responders in Communicating Effectively with Patients The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has released a plain language checklist that is intended to aid First Responders during emergencies that involve individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and communications related disabilities. The AAA issued numerous articles to its members in 2016 about the newly published requirements for all healthcare providers, including EMS agencies, under the nondiscrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Section 1557. The requirements are intended to prevent discrimination in the provision of healthcare and ensure that all individuals can meaningfully participate in their healthcare treatment, including those patients with LEP and other communications related disabilities. The announcement yesterday is intended to provide additional resources for healthcare providers to ensure compliance with the ACA Section 1557. The checklist includes numerous recommendations and action steps that EMS agencies can utilize to ensure that they are serving all members of a community in a meaningful way. These recommendations include conducting research about the communities by accessing U.S. Census Bureau data, engaging Centers for Independent Living and local assistance groups, and by preparing emergency messaging that can be...

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