A bi-weekly newsletter from your physician organization
Friday, February 12, 2021
Free mental wellness support for patients, healthcare workers
The coronavirus pandemic has caused an increase in anxiety, uncertainty and other challenges for millions of Americans. Michigan created the "Stay Well" campaign to promote mental health support for the public and healthcare workers. Virtual support groups, help lines, mental wellness webinars and more are available at no cost to those needing support.

Free, confidential support from a Michigan Stay Well counselor is available and the counseling line is available 24/7 - call 1-888-535-6136 and press “8."

Support for frontline workers:

Facing the constant risk of contracting COVID-19 on the job is not easy. It can create emotional distress that spills into your personal life and affects your outlook. Free virtual support groups are being offered to frontline workers through the Stay Well program. See details below:

Feb. 18 and/or Feb. 25, 2021 - 4-5pm
Click to register for one or both sessions.

In this group counseling session, you’ll have an opportunity to share your emotional ups and downs with people who understand them the best: other frontline workers. You’ll hear about their experiences, too. A trained Stay Well crisis counselor will moderate the session, standing by to listen and help participants process their feelings together. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Special ACA insurance enrollment period begins Feb. 15
Many Michigan residents have lost their insurance due to job losses or other circumstances during the pandemic. A special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance exchange opens Feb. 15 - May 15, 2021.

Quick facts about the special enrollments:

  • Open enrollment begins on February 15 and ends on May 15, 2021. You can sign up for coverage or learn more by visiting https://www.healthcare.gov/ or calling 1-800-318-2596.
  • Click here for small business health options.
  • If you have questions, help is available. If you’d like to get in touch with a broker or advisor who can offer free assistance and help you sign up for the best insurance for your situation, you can search for someone in your area here.  
Good Rx card offers prescription discounts
The cost of prescriptions can often dissuade someone from taking important medications prescribed by their doctor. GoodRx offers discounts on thousands of prescription medications.

The GoodRx tool compares prices on a particular medication, then provides a coupon for discounted pricing. Patients with insurance can also use the coupon. There are no fees. GoodRx is not an insurance plan.

Patients can use the GoodRx website or mobile app to search for medication discounts. Or get a free prescription discount card here.
Can employers require employees to get COVID-19 vaccines?
While there is no law or regulation specific to mandatory vaccinations for COVID-19, there is existing guidance. Generally speaking, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission allows employers to mandate vaccines, so long as certain requirements are met and exceptions are made.

While many employers are choosing to go the optional route for now, some employers are mandating employee vaccinations.

How can an employer mandate vaccinations?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows employers to have a requirement that an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace. State law may change this and employers in multiple states must know the law in every state they operate.

Employers must also be aware of existing exceptions. Some of these include:
  • a unionized workforce, which would require an opportunity to bargain;
  • an existing employment agreement with terms to the contrary;
  • a disability or medical condition under the ADA; or
  • a religious exception pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

If an employee is asking for an accommodation pursuant to the ADA or Title VII, the employer may need to engage in an interactive process to identify reasonable accommodations and provide accommodations where possible.

Prior to making a mandatory vaccination policy, there is much to consider. Employers should develop a vaccination policy and procedure and a policy and procedure for requesting accommodations for religious or medical reasons. Employers should also consider liability and implications if the employee has an adverse reaction or must take time off due to side effects.

Many employers have chosen to make vaccines optional due to staffing concerns, employee morale, state law considerations, and/or employees’ hesitation given the Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccines.

Source: Rickard & Associates, one of TPA's Affiliate Partners, is a full-service law firm assisting practices with a range of business operations.
The latest healthcare news
Ways you can save
Featured Affiliate Partner: LEGAL SERVICES - Rickard & Associates
can help practices with legal services, including HIPAA readiness, contract negotiation, employee relations, compliance review and more. TPA members receive a preferred rate.

Learn more about this partner.