Workplace violence is a risk at any health care workplace. Whether from patients, residents, clients, or employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) estimates that three quarters of all workplace assaults reported annually – approximately 19,000 – occurred in health care and social service settings.

While OSHA does not have any specific regulations addressing violence in the workplace, OSHA’s General Duty Clause applies to covered employers and requires they provide their employees with a place of employment that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious harm.” It is OSHA’s position that the General Duty Clause imposes a legal obligation upon an employer to provide a workplace free of conditions or activities “that either the employer or industry recognizes as hazardous and that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees when there is a feasible method to abate the hazard.”

In recent years, OSHA has published guidelines to the health care community – Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers – with specific recommendations to prevent violence in health care workplaces. OSHA also has a webpage dedicated to workplace violence, which provides helpful guidance and training materials.

In an effort to further assist health care organizations better prevent and address violence in their workplaces, in April the Joint Commission released a Sentinel Event Alert addressing physical and verbal violence against health care workers. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies health care organizations and programs in the United States.


Continue Reading Recent Joint Commission Guidance Recommends Steps for Health Care Organizations to Reduce Workplace Violence

The Joint Commission announced that it will eliminate a requirement of deemed home health organizations to provide the personalized written plan of care to patients. The announcement follows a communication from CMS that it will no longer require that the individualized written plan of care be given to the patients, as written in §484.60 of the Home Health Services Conditions of Participation.   Effective April  30, 2018, the Joint Commission will no longer score organizations on whether they fail to give their patients a written individualized plan of care.
Continue Reading Providing Patient Written Plan of Care Eliminated from The Joint Commission’s Standards for Deemed Home Health Agencies

On July 25, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote a bipartisan bill which is now in the Senate’s hands for consideration, the Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017. The bill would amend the Stark Law (Section 1877(h)(1) of the Social Security Act) and impact other provisions governing Medicare Part B.

The bill would amend the Stark Law:

  • to provide that the writing requirement for certain compensation arrangements may be satisfied by means determined by the HHS Secretary, including “a collection of documents, including contemporaneous documents evidencing the course of conduct between the parties;”
  • to include provisions for “indefinite” holdovers involving certain personal service arrangements and leases of office space or equipment; and
  • to provide for up to 90 days to obtain missing signatures in certain compensation arrangements that have become noncompliant.

These changes codify certain Stark Law changes previously made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule that took effect on January 1, 2016 (see related article here). 
Continue Reading House Bipartisan Act Would Amend Stark Law and Medicare Part B