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Cybercriminals Often Target Healthcare Providers with Ransomware Attacks

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had issued guidance on ransomware attack prevention and recovery from a healthcare sector perspective in July 2016. The importance of these measures was highlighted by the recent worldwide ransomware, “WannaCry,” attack that caused major disruption to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service and cancellation of operations. Learn … Continue Reading

Hospital May Fire Employee Who Refused Influenza Vaccination, Federal Court Finds

A Boston hospital reasonably accommodated an employee’s religious objections to its influenza vaccination program by offering alternatives, but exempting the employee from the vaccination requirement would impose an undue hardship on the hospital because of the risk of infection to patients, a federal court in Massachusetts has concluded, granting the hospital’s motion for summary judgment … Continue Reading

Respiratory Therapist May Proceed with Civil Rights Claims Based on Patient’s Request That He Not Be Treated by Black Employees

A respiratory therapist can proceed with her civil rights claims because questions remain about whether her hospital employer intended to honor a patient’s request that he not be treated by black employees, a federal court has ruled. Caprice McCrary v. Oakwood Healthcare, Inc., C.A. No. 14-14053 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 16, 2016). Caprice McCrary, an African-American, … Continue Reading

Inconsistent Discipline of Female and Male Mental Health Technicians Bars Summary Judgment for Hospital

Where a former female employee showed a hospital imposed lesser disciplinary action upon male employees for infractions similar to the one that led to her discharge, her sex discrimination claims can proceed, a federal appeals court has ruled, reversing summary judgment for the hospital. Jackson v. VHS Detroit Receiving Hospital, Inc., No. 15-1802 (6th Cir. … Continue Reading

Court Finds No FMLA Violation, Disability Discrimination Where Hospital Terminates Nurse with Migraine Who Slept While On Duty

A federal court in Ohio has dismissed Family and Medical Leave Act and disability discrimination claims filed by a nurse who was caught sleeping while on duty and fired.  Lasher v. Medina Hosp., et al., C.A. No. 1:15CV00005 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 5, 2016). The court found the hospital had a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating … Continue Reading

EEOC Finds Hospital’s Leave Policy Unlawful, But Court Dismisses Nurse’s ADA Claims

A federal court in Texas has dismissed a nurse’s disability discrimination and retaliation claims because she failed to establish she was qualified to perform the duties of her position with or without reasonable accommodation even after the EEOC found the employer’s six-month cap on leaves of absence violated the American with Disabilities Act. Salem v. … Continue Reading

Department of Health and Human Services Issues Compliance Resource for Governing Boards

The Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS OIG), the American Health Lawyers Association, the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors and the Health Care Compliance Association have released a joint educational resource to assist governing boards of health care organizations in carrying out their compliance plan oversight obligations. This new resource … Continue Reading

NLRB Finds Hospital Must Bargain with Union on Changes to Dress Code Policy

A hospital’s newly implemented dress code policy was a material, substantial, and significant change to union employees’ terms and conditions of employment that required bargaining with the union, the NLRB has ruled.  Salem Hospital Corp., 360 NLRB No. 95 (Apr. 30, 2014). The hospital maintained a dress code policy, which allowed employees wide latitude to determine … Continue Reading

NLRB Finds Employer’s Ban on Off-Duty Access Unlawful

A nursing home’s policy prohibiting off-duty employees from remaining on its premises after their shift “unless previously authorized by” their supervisor interfered with the labor rights of employees, the NLRB has ruled.  Piedmont Gardens, 360 NLRB No. 100 (May 1, 2014). The union filed unfair labor practice charges against the employer, alleging among other things, … Continue Reading

Employer’s Policy Accommodating Only Work-Related Lifting Restrictions Could Be Pretext for Pregnancy Discrimination, Court Finds

A nursing home’s policy of accommodating only restrictions from work-related incidents could be pretext for pregnancy discrimination, a federal appeals court ruled, reversing summary judgment in favor of the nursing home.  Jennifer Latowski v. Northwoods Nursing Center, No. 12-2408 (6th Cir. Dec. 23, 2013). After learning that a nursing assistant was pregnant, the nursing home … Continue Reading

Hospital Commits Unfair Labor Practice by Unilaterally Changing Dress Policy and Failing to Respond to Union’s Information Request

A hospital violated the National Labor Relations Act when it changed its dress policy without first giving the union representing its nurses an opportunity to bargain and by failing to provide information the union requested regarding the policy, a National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge has found in Salem Hospital Corporation a/k/a The Memorial Hospital of Salem County, Case No. 04-CA-097635 (Sept. 10, 2013).… Continue Reading

Ruling in Noel Canning Leaves Unanswered Questions For Internal Investigations In Healthcare Industry

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled in Noel Canning v. NLRB et al., Nos. 12-1115 and 12-1153 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 25, 2013), that President Obama’s “Recess Appointments” of three new NLRB members in January 2012 were unconstitutional and, as a result, the Board lacked any constitutional authority to … Continue Reading

Obamacare Imposes New Compliance Program Requirements for Nursing Facilities

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, all nursing facilities and skilled nursing facilities must have a compliance and ethics program that contains certain statutorily-required elements by March 23, 2013. The program must be effective in preventing and detecting criminal, civil, and administrative violations under PPACA and … Continue Reading

Court Holds No Private Right of Action in “Church Amendment,” Dismisses Nurse’s Claim Against Hospital

The Church Amendment (42 U.S.C. §300a-7(c)) provides that no entity receiving federal funding may discriminate in the employment of any physician or health care personnel because he or she performed or refused to perform a lawful sterilization procedure or abortion.  An Operating Room Nurse filed suit against a New York hospital arguing that the hospital … Continue Reading
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