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

NCART: House Circulates Sign-On Letter for CRT Manual Wheelchair Accessories thumbnail NCART: House Circulates Sign-On Letter for CRT Manual Wheelchair Accessories NCART recently announced some good news from our Congressional champions. As we prepare for National CRT Awareness Week, Representatives John Larson (D-CT) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) are circulating a bipartisan letter to CMS for additional signatures to ensure people with disabilities who use Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) manual wheelchairs have the same access as those using CRT power wheelchairs. We need you to get your Representative to sign on! HME News: Accessories: Time to Follow Up, Stakeholders Say thumbnail HME News: Accessories: Time to Follow Up, Stakeholders Say Complex rehab stakeholders are working with their champions in Congress to craft a letter asking CMS to permanently change its payment policy on accessories for complex rehab manual wheelchairs, according to a recent article from HME News. HME News Business Summit 2020 thumbnail HME News Business Summit 2020 Join us as we talk with Liz Beaulieu, Editor of HME News, about the upcoming virtual HME News Business Summit. DMEPOS Warriors: Brooke Strachan, Owner of The Boob Shop thumbnail DMEPOS Warriors: Brooke Strachan, Owner of The Boob Shop When hard times come, it's not always easy to think on the bright side. For Brooke Strachan, finding the positives in any situation is her philosophy, and this state of mind is what led to her owning her own business. More Details on Medicare Audits Beginning August 3 thumbnail More Details on Medicare Audits Beginning August 3 In recent meetings with CMS, The van Halem Group has learned that while the date to begin medical review functions is August 3rd, there will likely be a delayed time frame before audit requests officially go out. CMS is currently working to develop instructions for contractors and intends to take a "toe in the water” approach, as opposed to opening up a flood gate of audits. HME News: Challenging Fall Awaits Complex Rehab Providers thumbnail HME News: Challenging Fall Awaits Complex Rehab Providers Don Clayback, executive director of NCART, stated that complex rehab providers could see a downturn in revenues in late summer, early fall. 2020 HME Woman of the Year Nominations Open Through August 14 thumbnail 2020 HME Woman of the Year Nominations Open Through August 14 Now in its fifth year, the award, sponsored by VGM, recognizes one woman in the industry who has made increasingly significant contributions throughout her career to her company, community, and the home medical equipment industry. VGM's Mike Mallaro on How to Get to the Other Side thumbnail VGM's Mike Mallaro on How to Get to the Other Side The COVID-19 pandemic has broken the mold for how the HME industry has always done business, but that can create opportunity—if providers are open to it, says VGM CEO Mike Mallaro.