COVID-19 Testing for First Responders

From the Federal Healthcare Resilience Task Force’s EMS / Prehospital Team on July  2. COVID-19 Testing for First Responders Product (EMS42) Purpose This document provides a brief overview of COVID-19 testing to inform decision-making for first responders including emergency medical service (EMS), Fire & Rescue, Law Enforcement and 911 telecommunicators. Developed By The Federal Healthcare Resilience Task Force (HRTF) is leading the development of a comprehensive strategy for the U.S. healthcare system to facilitate resiliency and responsiveness to the threats posed by COVID-19. The Task Force’s EMS/Pre-Hospital Team is comprised of public and private-sector EMS and 911 experts from a wide variety of agencies and focuses on responding to the needs of the pre-hospital community. This team is composed of subject matter experts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS), National 911 Program, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and non-federal partners representing stakeholder groups. Through collaboration with experts in related fields, the team develops practical resources for field providers, supervisors, administrators, medical directors, and associations to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. (more…)

Final Rule for ACA Section 1557

On June 12, 2020, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the long-awaited final rule which significantly changes several of the anti-discrimination provisions of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.  The final rule, which is a departure from the agency’s previous interpretation of the rules which were enacted 2016 during the Obama administration.  Since, the enactment of the 2016 rules, there have been numerous legal challenges to these provisions in federal court.  HHS believes that these final rules will reduce or eliminate provisions that they state were ineffective, unnecessary, and confusing and will save roughly covered entities roughly $2.9 billion in costs. 2016 Section 1557 Requirements Section 1557 of the ACA were the anti-discrimination provisions geared at ensuring all individuals had access to essential benefits.  When originally released in 2016, the Section 1557 rules prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities, including discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping.  The 2016 Rule also required that covered entities: Establish a written Grievance Procedure. Identify and maintain a Compliance Coordinator. Publish non-discrimination notices in the...

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EEOC Guidance on COVID-19 Antibody Testing

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated guidance yesterday titled, What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws yesterday.  The updated guidance addresses employers who wish to require employees to have a COVID-19 antibody tests prior to re-entering the workplace.  The guidance consists of seventeen pages of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to assist employers as they navigate this truly unprecedented time for employers and employees during a pandemic. The updated guidance alerts employers that they may not require employees to undergo COVID-19 antibody testing as this would constitute an unlawful “medical examination” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Under the ADA, employers are limited in the medical related inquiries that they can make of employees.  Medical related inquiries can be considered a Medical Examination and are strictly regulated under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.  Under the ADA, an employer “shall not require a medical examination and shall not make inquiries of an employee as to whether such employee is an individual with a disability or as to the nature and severity of the disability, unless such examination or inquiry is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity.”...

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Gowns | Merrow Forloh Reusable

AAA Professional Standards Committee Chair Bill Mergendahl has offered to coordinate a bulk order of Merrow Forloh reusable gowns. Although each gown is pricey ($40/pp), they are made of extremely high-quality ripstop material and can be washed 100 times, making them comparable to a $0.40 disposable.  Additionally, they can be sprayed with standard outdoor gear water repellant and be good for another 100 washes.  One size fits all. These gowns are American made in Fall River, Massachusetts, which avoids a number of the quality assurance problems many member organizations have experienced with imports. The goal is to pull together a group order of 10,000 pieces for delivery in 3–4 weeks. Pro EMS will coordinate splitting the payments between providers. Please see the attached brochure, then contact wmerg@proems.com if you would like to participate.