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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration just issued an Emergency Temporary Standard intended to protect workers from getting infected with COVID-19 while they’re on the job. The short version is that the ETS requires businesses with more than 100 employees to either mandate COVID-19 vaccination for its workers or to implement a policy that gives employees the option of either getting vaccinated or undergoing weekly COVID-19 testing and wearing a face covering while at work. While that’s all well and good, the ETS puts pressure on those businesses to act fast in order to meet the December 5 deadline. That timeframe doesn’t take into account employee pushback of contingency plans for situations in which some employees simply refuse to comply. And in fact, according to The National Law Review, “26 states and numerous employers have filed lawsuits seeking to stay enforcement of the ETS in various courts of appeals throughout the United States.” While an increasing number of urgent care centers are offering the COVID-19 vaccines, and most can offer rapid testing, this is especially relevant to those operators who offer occupational medicine services. Note that if the client/employer pays for the testing, it can be billed directly to the employer as an Employer Paid Service. Otherwise, because it’s unlikely that such asymptomatic compliance testing will be covered by insurance, the urgent care operator should consider a competitive cash price and an efficient process for employees to get results, including opening earlier so employees can get in and out without being late for work. Another consideration: Since patients reporting purely for vaccination or testing would not require an exam, urgent care operators might want to implement a system that separates them from patients who are experiencing various symptoms and seeking care (for example, a separate check-in and queue managed by a medical assistant).

Your Occ Med Clients Need Your Support with the New COVID-19 ETS—Immediately