Health Care attorney, Daniel Schulte, answers questions related to the definition of “health care provider” as it relates to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in the latest issue of The Journal of The Michigan Dental Association (December 2020).
Question: One of my employees who is not directly involved in patient care (she does billing, and other office work for my practice) is very upset with me. She claims that she had a situation months ago that would have qualified her for paid leave, and now that the definition of “health care provider” has changed under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) she says I owe her back pay. Is this true? She also claims that I should have brought this to her attention and to others who are now eligible for this paid leave. Did I have to amend the notice I have in my office when the definition of “health care provider” changed?
Answer: Due to the Department of Labor revising regulations previously issues in connection with the FFCRA, employers of health care providers are now required to provide paid sick leave and family leave to a broader category of employees. No longer can a dental practice, for example, take the position that none of its employees are entitled to paid leave pursuant to FFCRA. These regulations were revised in response to a ruling by a federal court invalidating parts of the regulations. The revised regulations went into effect on Sept. 16, 2020.
The revision that you are focusing on is the new definition of “health care provider” used for determining which employees may be excluded from the FFCRA’s requirement to provide paid leave. The revised regulations narrow this definition to include only those employees who are defined as health care providers under the Family Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. This generally includes health care providers who are licensed, registered, certified, etc., by a government authority, and those without a license, registration, or certification who actually provide diagnostic services, preventative services, treatment services, or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care as part of their job duties. Billers, receptionists, and other employees who do not perform these services are not covered by the exception and must be provided with paid leave pursuant to the FFCRA.
Read the complete Q&A in the Journal of the Michigan Dental Association on page 24.
About the author:
Daniel J. Schulte has more than 25 years of experience helping clients solve tough problems and capitalize on opportunities that require a blend of business and legal expertise. His practice focuses on addressing the legal, business, licensing, and regulatory challenges of health care professionals, organizations, and facilities. Dan understands how legal issues impact business objectives and, as a result, offers his clients practical, results-oriented advice. He is a Certified Public Accountant, former managing partner and current executive committee member of the firm. Dan also serves as co-chair of the firm’s Health Care Practice Group.
Other posts to consider: