Clarification on What is a “Healthcare Provider” in the FFCRA

Published in Member Communities on March 30, 2020

In phase 2 of the government’s COVID-19 relief package, passed nearly 2 weeks ago and known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), there was language exempting certain business types from being required to offer expanded medical leave and sick leave to their employees. The 2 exemptions were defined as businesses that 1) employed fewer than 50 employees (and the long term viability of their business would be jeopardized by having employees not working) or 2) were classified as “healthcare providers.” That second exemption type left more questions than answers and had a lot of people asking, “Who is a healthcare provider?” Or more specifically, “Am I, as a DMEPOS supplier or manufacturer, considered to be a healthcare provider for the purposes of this new Act?”

VGM hosted a webinar last week and highlighted many of the key features of this particular bill. During that webinar, we mentioned that we had reached out to the offices of the Secretary/Department of Labor to ask for clarification on what business types were considered healthcare providers. At the time of the webinar, we had not received any clarification from the Department of Labor. Since that time, however, the Secretary/Dept. of Labor has issued additional guidance about who qualifies as a “healthcare provider” for purposes of exempting their workers from sick leave/medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The additional clarification response we received read as follows:

For the purposes of employees who may be exempted from paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave by their employer under the FFCRA, a health care provider is anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, employer, or entity. This includes any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided that are similar to such institutions. 

This definition includes any individual employed by an entity that contracts with any of the above institutions, employers, or entities institutions to provide services or to maintain the operation of the facility. This also includes anyone employed by any entity that provides medical services, produces medical products, or is otherwise involved in the making of COVID-19 related medical equipment, tests, drugs, vaccines, diagnostic vehicles, or treatments. This also includes any individual that the highest official of a state or territory, including the District of Columbia, determines is a health care provider necessary for that state’s or territory’s or the District of Columbia’s response to COVID-19.

To minimize the spread of the virus associated with COVID-19, the Department encourages employers to be judicious when using this definition to exempt health care providers from the provisions of the FFCRA.

The information above, along with many other FAQs and answers that address many common business scenarios, can be found at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions. Based on this clarification, while DME providers are still not called out specifically, we think you could easily argue that DME providers and manufacturers can be considered exempt, but you may want to consult an attorney before making your final decision as to whether you will consider your business and employees exempt from eligibility for expanded medical/sick leave under FFCRA. The question VGM initially posed to the Dept. of Labor did ask for clarification on DME providers specifically, but the answer we received from them was more general in nature. 
 


comments powered by Disqus

From Our Experts

VGM and HME News Team Up for the HME Financial Benchmarking Survey thumbnail VGM and HME News Team Up for the HME Financial Benchmarking Survey HME News and VGM & Associates have teamed up again for this year's benchmarking survey. What does this mean for you? First, you won't be asked to complete a benchmarking survey from both organizations. Second, participants will get the survey results for free, but with the increased responses from our joint efforts, you'll get a more accurate picture of the HME industry. It's a win-win! DMEPOS Warriors: Sue Currence, BSN, RN, WOCN for Austin Pharmacy & Medical Supplies thumbnail DMEPOS Warriors: Sue Currence, BSN, RN, WOCN for Austin Pharmacy & Medical Supplies Meet Sue Currence, BSN, RN, WOCN for Austin Pharmacy & Medical Supplies, a VGM member since 2016! As a wound, ostomy, and continence nurse (WOCN), Sue has a vast knowledge of the wound care industry. We asked Sue about her experience with wound care and its importance as a specialty in the home medical equipment industry. DMEPOS Forecast: More Healthcare at Home thumbnail DMEPOS Forecast: More Healthcare at Home This episode gives listeners a glimpse of behind the scenes at VGM Fulfillment with President, Jeremy Stolz, and a look ahead for DMEPOS providers with VGM Group CEO, Mike Mallaro. Deadline to Apply for HHS Relief Payments (Round 2) June 3rd thumbnail Deadline to Apply for HHS Relief Payments (Round 2) June 3rd Those of you who received a payment from HHS between April 10 and April 24th (the payments that were automatically sent to you, that you didn't ask for or apply for) are able to apply for a second round of HHS Relief Payments. In fact, ONLY companies that received Round 1 HHS relief payments can apply for Round 2. I've included a few links below that are pertinent to the Round 2 application process. Order a Custom Video From VGM thumbnail Order a Custom Video From VGM As a VGM member, you make a huge impact on the lives of people in your community. Now, you can promote your services in a professionally made video. For just $90, you'll be able to post, share, and send your very own Bring It Home video. Hellman, a division of VGM Group, will add your logo to the end of the video, branding it as yours to use in any or all of your marketing. Order a Custom Video From VGM thumbnail Order a Custom Video From VGM As a U.S. Rehab member, you make a huge impact on the lives of people in your community. Now, you can promote your services in a professionally made video. For just $90, you'll be able to post, share, and send your very own Bring It Home video. Hellman, a division of VGM Group, will add your logo to the end of the video, branding it as yours to use in any or all of your marketing. Start With Yes: A Chat with Bellevue Healthcare's President, Joel Gallion thumbnail Start With Yes: A Chat with Bellevue Healthcare's President, Joel Gallion U.S. Rehab President, Greg Packer, asks Joel Gallion, President at Bellevue Healthcare in the state of Washington, what it's been like on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Rehab Recap and Plan for 2020 and Beyond thumbnail U.S. Rehab Recap and Plan for 2020 and Beyond In these very trying times during the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Rehab is working diligently to keep our members updated on the changes that are happening in D.C. with CMS and how this is affecting our membership community. We have worked diligently alongside many industry leaders, including NCART, NRRTs, the ITEM Coalition, and many manufacturers and providers to ensure the success of our industry.