[ Updated April 17, 2020 | 9:53am ]
We are experiencing an unprecedented time: exponential growth of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) cases, social distancing, and growing unemployment. As the United States economy and daily life is being reshaped by COVID-19, maintaining “normal” business functions during these times is a challenge. At YHB we work with Healthcare organizations across the region of all shapes and sizes. Over the past few days we have been in touch with hundreds of doctors and office managers as we work together to lead through this pandemic. Below we have included some ideas and updates to help you during this time.
CARES | Provider Relief Fund
The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced $30 billion in immediate relief funding to providers in support of the national response to COVID-19. They have opened a website for all providers, regardless of network affiliation or payer contract. HHS has contracted with UnitedHealth Group to facilitate delivery of the funds.
According to HHS, “…you must sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agree to the terms and conditions within 30 days of payment. Should you choose to reject the funds, you must also complete the attestation to indicate this. This Payment Portal will guide you through the attestation process to accept or reject the funds.”
Information from EEOC
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued additional guidance on March 19, 2020 on how businesses can deal with COVID-19. Their clarifications were in part to address workplace anti-discrimination laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. Specifically, of items needing to be addressed were the requirements for reasonable accommodations and rules about medical examinations and inquiries.
The EEOC states, “The ADA and Rehabilitation Act rules continue to apply, but they do not interfere with or prevent employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19.”
It’s important to note you should always consult with your HR Team or attorney. The information contained in this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
Below is a list of principals to practice the EEOC deemed acceptable during a pandemic:
- During a pandemic, ADA-covered employers may ask employees if they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus.
- Employers may measure employees’ body temperature.
- The CDC states that employees who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 should leave the workplace. The ADA does not interfere with employers following this advice.
- Employers are allowed to require a Doctor’s note before allowing employees to return to work.
- An employer may screen job applicants for symptoms of COVID-19 after making a conditional job offer, as long as it does so for all entering employees in the same type of job.
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced that the federal income tax filing and payment deadline has been extended to July 15, 2020.
- If you expect a refund, individual Federal Income Taxes should be complete ASAP so you can receive your refund
- Taxpayers don’t need to file any additional forms to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief.
- States are not all following the same guidelines set by the Federal Government. So check with us on how your state return may be affected.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
President Trump has signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Among other things, the new law:
- Requires certain employers to provide paid leave benefits to employees affected by the coronavirus outbreak;
- Expands unemployment benefits and offers grants to states to process and pay claims; and
- Mandates coverage of coronavirus testing with no cost-sharing.
The Act also provides a payroll tax credit to employers that pay sick leave wages for qualified purposes. The credit for each employee equals up to 100% of his or her wages, limited to $511 per day for self-care, or $200 if the sick leave is to care for a family member or child whose school is closed.
We will continue to share helpful tips and resources on key issues as they develop to ensure you are prepared to navigate these unprecedented issue.