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 Wound Care and Permobil Discuss the Importance of Seated Posture thumbnail VGM Wound Care and Permobil Discuss the Importance of Seated Posture In this episode of industry matters Director of Wound Care, Heather Trumm, talks with Stacey Mullis, Director of Clinical Marketing at Permobil, where “Every person has the right to have his or her disability compensated as far as possible by aids with the same technical standard as those we all use in our daily lives.” Heather and Stacy are going to dive right into dive into something that is often overlooked, and that is seated posture in wound care. Key Marketing Priorities for HME Providers in 2021 thumbnail Key Marketing Priorities for HME Providers in 2021 Now that 2020 is officially in the rearview mirror, it's time to get strategic in 2021 with resources, priorities, and investments. From a marketing perspective, healthcare delivery models have undoubtedly changed. Lindy Tentinger discusses key marketing priorities that can help your company achieve its business goals and set it up for continued success. CRT Telehealth Update from NCART thumbnail CRT Telehealth Update from NCART NCART and the CRT Remote Services Consortium announced their continued efforts to secure a permanent telehealth option for people with disabilities who require complex rehab technology (CRT). Navigating Lead Generation Safely thumbnail Navigating Lead Generation Safely Lead-generating companies are prevalent in the industry and are legal, but it is essential that providers understand exactly what service they will provide and how they will do it. Member Spotlight: Leo Levine, Owner, Merrick Surgical Supplies & Home Care thumbnail Member Spotlight: Leo Levine, Owner, Merrick Surgical Supplies & Home Care Meet Leo Levine, owner of Merrick Surgical Supplies & Home Care! A VGM member since 2019, Leo has taken what he's learned during his time as a member and used it to help him grow his business. Is Medicare Advantage Too Good to be True? thumbnail Is Medicare Advantage Too Good to be True? In a recent HME News article, Dan Fedor provides three important items for CRT providers to know about Medicare Advantage plans. What Healthcare at Home Means for DMEPOS thumbnail What Healthcare at Home Means for DMEPOS This year has been one of the most taxing years in history for everyone. We have all been keeping safe at home, which has caused the need for DMEPOS to be even more critical. As we close out the year, it's good to reflect really what does healthcare at home mean for our industry? An Inside Look with Clint, Episode 3: Mark Higley and the Importance of Benchmarking thumbnail An Inside Look with Clint, Episode 3: Mark Higley and the Importance of Benchmarking Clint talks with Mark Higley about the importance of benchmarking. Each year VGM partners with HME News to provide and then analyze an industry benchmark survey.