OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard for COVID-19

Members & Publications

June 17, 2021

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect healthcare workers from contracting COVID-19, which went into effect June 21.

The health care ETS aims to protect workers facing the highest coronavirus risk, settings where suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients are treated. This includes employees in hospitals, skilled nursing homes, and assisted living facilities; emergency responders; home health care workers; and employees in ambulatory care settings. There are some exemptions for healthcare providers who screen out patients who may have COVID-19. The new mandatory safety rules will only apply to health care settings, while all other businesses may follow OSHA’s optional safety guidelines.

The new standards for health care would, among other requirements, mandate that health care employers provide respirators to employees working with COVID patients, establish a COVID response plan, screen employees and patients for the virus, record employee cases, and provide training on COVID risks at work. OSHA will update the standards, if necessary, to align with CDC guidelines and changes in the pandemic.

The ETS is effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. Employers must comply with most provisions within 14 days and with the remaining provisions within 30 days. OSHA will use its enforcement discretion to avoid citing employers who miss a compliance deadline but are making a good faith effort to comply with the ETS.  Learn more about the rule.

Legislation Introduced to Alleviate Impact of Conversion Factor Cut for 2021

Nov 09, 2020

Last month, two bills were introduced in the House proposing solutions to the estimated 10.6% Physician Fee Schedule conversion factor cut expected to go into effect January 1, 2021.  The bills offer some relief to the cut, but do not reflect a comprehensive or long-term solution.  AAPM&R has therefore chosen to remain neutral regarding these bills. 

Your Academy continues to advocate for a permanent solution to the conversion factor cut while maintaining the important payment increases to office and outpatient evaluation and management services.