Latest Articles

Healthcare employers, along with other high-risk industries, continually look for ways to minimize risk and to promote a positive work culture for employees. One approach is the implementation of a “just culture” framework. In essence, “just culture” is a shared accountability methodology. In a “just culture” framework, both employers and employees are responsible for their respective roles when patient harm occurs and, ideally, for preventing it. Under this theory, employers are responsible for creating system…
The Department of Justice recently reported that the healthcare industry accounted for $2.5 billion of the $2.8 billion dollars it recovered in False Claims Act (FCA) cases in Fiscal Year 2018. Qui tam actions (FCA claims brought by private individuals on behalf of the government) allow whistleblowers to receive up to 30 percent of the amount of recovered when a court finds a healthcare organization submitted false claims for payment. Additionally, individuals engaging in protected…
A recent Fifth Circuit decision reminds healthcare employers that liability not only stems from potential harassment of employees by coworkers, but by patients as well. In Gardner v. CLC of Pascagoula, L.L.C. dba Plaza Community Living Center, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 17939 (5th Cir. June 29, 2018), the Fifth Circuit held that Kymberli Gardner, a former assisted living facility certified nursing assistant who was allegedly harassed by a patient, can proceed with her hostile…
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), the state’s highest court, has held that an Initiative Petition (Initiative Petition 17-07) seeking to create a new law (“The Patient Safety Act”) that would dictate to hospitals and acute care units in state-operated health care facilities the number of patients that may be assigned to a registered nurse is constitutional and could be placed on the November ballot if a sufficient number of supporting signatures were submitted to…
The healthcare industry is following other industries with an increased focus and growing sense of alarm over the gender pay gap. According to Doximity, in 2017, female physicians on average earned $105,000 (27.7%) less than male physicians.  Similarly, a 2016 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that female academic physicians at public medical schools earned on average $51,315 (20%) less than their male counterparts.  At last week’s Annual Meeting, the…
While all employers struggle with navigating the ever-changing landscape of drug and alcohol issues in the workplace, healthcare employers should pay particularly close attention. According to the annual Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index, illicit drug use among U.S. employees continues to rise, resulting in the highest drug test positivity rates in the last 12 years. While the statistics on whether healthcare workers are more or less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol are unclear,…
Many hospitals and healthcare facilities are federal contractors. Jackson Lewis regularly provides specialized assistance in developing and implementing affirmative action plans (AAPs). Some of the specific services we offer include: Identifying pertinent labor market areas and analyzing census-related statistical data Providing sample plan texts, notices, letters and policy statements Preparing utilization and availability analyses Conducting impact ratio and compensation analyses To help covered employers understand their affirmative action obligations and the procedure for plan development,…
As #MeToo and #TimesUp initiatives sweep the nation, the healthcare industry should pay attention. Recent nationwide media attention on sexual harassment in healthcare, coupled with stressful work environments, means healthcare employers have their share of workplace issues. However, healthcare employers have a unique opportunity to make meaningful culture change happen now – both in the context of sexual harassment and beyond. So what can employers do? Use this national dialogue to make your company the…
A federal district court in the Southern District of New York rejected a constitutional challenge to marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). Washington, et al. v. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III, et. al., 17 Civ. 5625 (AKH) (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 26, 2018). Plaintiffs consisted of a group of individual medical marijuana users and the Cannabis Cultural Association, Inc. (“Association”). They sued the U.S. Attorney General and others, arguing that…