With only days to spare, continuing care retirement communities and nursing homes now have confirmation that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act exempts them from the act as “health care providers.” Their workers are deemed to be essential in combatting the COVID-19 virus.
Many senior living facilities have questioned whether their workers were exempt from the sick leave and expanded family leave requirements of the new act, and whether these workers are essential to care for seniors with tasks of daily living and other non-medical assistance.
On March 28, just days before the April 1 effective date of the act, the federal government issued guidance that the exemption now will extend to workers in nursing facilities, retirement facilities, home health agencies and similar entities, even if the workers are not licensed medical professionals.
When initially passed, the act included an exemption for “health care providers,” limited, for the most part, to licensed medical professionals. This left many senior living facilities seriously concerned that the act did not treat their workers as essential or exempt from the act. A number of senior living associations and advocates pressed federal officials for clarification since the act passed.
Recent guidance now makes clear that the act’s exemption will extend broadly to these additional categories of health care workers in order to address the public health emergency and to “minimize the spread of the virus associated with COVID-19.”
If you have any questions on how your senior living facility can cope with the legal aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact Chris Churchill, Tim Dietrich or anyone in the Barley Snyder Senior Living Industry Group.
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