EEOC Issues versus Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs

EEOC Issues versus Employer-Sponsored Wellness Programs

How Do Abbreviations in Society Relate to Employees?

 

EEOC Issues

There are so many abbreviations floating around in our high technology world that many people simply do not know what these mean or how these abbreviations impact their lives. Case in point, the latest trend in the news involves EEOC Issues and Proposed Rule on Wellness Programs.

– EEOC is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
– ADA relates to Americans with Disabilities Act, which in turn relates to employer wellness programs
– HIPPA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
– PPACA is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a transformation of medical practices to offer and promote better health care at lower costs with improved methods financially clinically and technologically.
– HDHP definition is a High Deductible Health Plan. Generally, employees who have an HDHP can opt out of wellness plans
– GINA, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

 

Two-Edged Sword

Company Wellness Plans are a Two-Edged Sword

1. ADA regulations call for employers to encourage employees to participate in wellness programs, even if they have a disability. This includes inquiries and medical examinations. The ADA considers wellness programs a voluntary program.

2. Explanations on how regulations interact with ADA and HIPAA and other federal laws that show nondiscrimination.

3. Employers must examine and review their wellness programs and make sure they are in compliance with the ADA.

4. Employers may have to require that their employees participate in a wellness program and these programs must be in compliance with EEOC rules. Health inquiries and medical examinations can be obtained by employers.

5. Employers may have to deny health insurance to non-participating wellness program employees.

6. Employers may be deemed to take decisive actions towards employees who do not participate in wellness programs.

7. Employers may be deemed to take decisive actions towards employees who do not reach wellness goals.

8. Employers must offer all employees a wellness program with set goals and make available certain wellness programs geared around those with disabilities, offering certain accommodations.

9. Employers will be restricted on the amount of medical history, they are able to get on their employees.

10. Employers may offer employee incentives for wellness program participation to help keep the program strictly voluntary.

As a side-note, this employment law piece was written to educate and protect small to mid-sized businesses from labor violations. Having employees requires quality labor law protection. If you’re based in Pasadena, consider one of these labor posters for total employer compliance. Their employment posters go through a strict legal review for ongoing compliance.

 

Wellness Programs

The Two definitions of Wellness Programs

These new health care laws and the purpose of the new wellness programs enacted by all employers are pushing for consistency in compliance and standards of care for all wellness programs under HIPAA. The underlying concept of these health and wellness programs are to promote employee health, wellness and prevent disease processes from overcoming the employee.

Wellness programs in another sense are not considered wellness programs, nor do they promote employee health if the program:

– Causes an excess amount of time for the employee
– Cannot oppose intrusive procedures on the employee
– Cannot impose a cost to the employee

Voluntary Wellness Programs are not-so-Voluntary

As it is, in regards to health and wellness programs, they are considered to be voluntary. However, there are plans to deny an employee health coverage or at least limit the employee’s health plan because they opt out of the offered and voluntary wellness plan through their employer, especially if the employer offers PPO and HDHP.

Employers Must Educate Employees Regarding Rights to Know

Employers must present in an understandable and written manner that the employees can understand information regarding offered wellness programs that are meant to be a part of offered health plans.

Employees must be advised of the types of medical information their employer will obtain and know how the employer uses this medical information.

Employers must explain to their employees any restrictions of medical information use and what people has access to employee medical information.

Each employee needs to be aware of any incentives offered by their employer in regards to wellness plans.

If an employee has a disability the employer must accommodate the employee to avoid any hardship for the employee.

Employee incentives increase if the employee participates in a tobacco cessation program with tobacco screenings.

The understanding of employer offered wellness programs are very complex. Many organizations have a hand in these programs, demanding that employers do not stray from the rules and regulations of each entity such as GINA, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

 

Medical Information of Employees

Wellness Programs and Genetic Medical Information of Employees

GINA demands that restrictions are put upon all employers on their use of an employee’s genetic medical information, except when pertaining to voluntary wellness programs out of any health care plans. Some employers seek genetic medical information from employee spouses and this is against GINA regulations.

The EEOC Has the Last Say

– Plans to protect employee medical information
– Provide voluntary health services
– Works in coordination with GINA
– Employers and employees must comply
– Will put into place certain privacy practices related to sharing of employee medical information, the collection of information and by which this information is stored.

 

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Credit for this small business article goes to NECHES FCU, Port Neches, TX.

Neches FCU is a texas credit union and has an awesome team of professionals ready to manage it’s wide base of members. When the doors open at any of the several service centers, our core objective of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction” becomes the driving force for every representative. They are well-known for a personal, dynamic and enthusiastic work atmosphere, delivering a memorable service experience, and where members are known by name.

Neches FCU has approximately $438 Million in assets with over 45,000 members. Neches is recognized by members and the business community as one of the best credit unions in texas and an actively involved partner, helping our Family, Friends and Community!

Employ These Simple Strategies to Show Staff Appreciation

Strategies Managers can use to Show Staff Appreciation

Every work environment is made up of a team of people that need to feel like they are appreciated and receive respect in the work place and if they do not feel this way, the overall production of the company is going to suffer. Although the same expectations may be placed on the employees, regardless of the amount of praise or recognition that they get for doing a good job, there is no question that an employee that feels appreciated will show up to work ready to do a better job. This will hands-down lead to them being a better producer in the long run.

Additionally, a group of people that interact together well in the work place simply creates a better environment for everyone that is there, which can be a big deal when you consider the fact that the majority of working class people spend more time at work than they do with their families over the course of their careers.

Show your staff appreciation
Show your staff appreciation

 

It is very important for staff members in various businesses to show the employees that are under them that the value the work that they do and are appreciative. However, sometimes staff members may be clueless when it comes to what methods they can utilize to show this appreciation. Here are some ways that staff members and bosses can show the employees that work under them that they do indeed appreciate the hard work and the long hours that they are likely putting in week in and week out.

Improve your Verbal Communication with Staff
Improve your Verbal Communication with Staff

 

Verbal Communication

As a staff member who is a boss, you may not realize how much of a major impact a simple thank you or complimentary statement can be to a person. In everyday life, even saying a basic compliment to someone on the street, such as saying that you like something that they are wearing, can completely change their day and their perspective on people and their environment in general and the same is true in the work place. However, the impact is greater, due to the fact that when that compliment or thanks is a lot more when it is coming from a senior staff member. This lets a person know that the work that they are doing is valued, gives them validation, will make them have a better day and will be a big factor in how hard they are willing to work for you when you are not around.

Get acquainted with your employees
Get acquainted with your employees

 

Be Friendly and Get to Know Your Employees

Rather than making the work environment strictly an environment where work gets done, getting to know your employees, in regards to their families and the various things they like to do out of work, can make the environment a lot more comfortable. This type of interaction brings more of a friendly aspect to the work environment and there is no doubt that a team of workers will be more efficient and will enjoy the time they spend at work more when it is with people that they can also share their lives outside of work with. This is a humanistic approach and it will work very well to increase the cohesiveness that is involved in a group of people that work together.

Help employees grow in your business
Help employees grow in your business

 

Help Employees to Excel and Further Their Careers

One of the biggest things that people are concerned with at work is further developing their careers and working to get to a place of higher management, where they will likely get paid a lot more. Although some staff members may feel like this is something they want to avoid, based on the fact that they may have reason to believe if they offer too much mentoring that the employee’s that they are above could take their position in the long run, employees love to feel like their bosses are helping them to reach new heights in their careers. Those employees that do not feel like this eventually get stagnant, as they do not really have anything else to work for and can simply come into work and punch the clock in and punch it out when they leave. You will find that a ton of people operate this way in the work environment, so providing insight and opportunity to the employees that work under you can be a great way to get people excited and motivated about excelling at work.

On a side note, a I’d recommend you never miss the chance to deliver holiday greeting messages on time, or ahead of time. You should definitely have corporate holiday cards, business holiday cards or work anniversary cards on hand to make them feel that they are valued in your office.

Provide employees rewards
Provide employees rewards

 

Rewards

You can motivate employees, mentor them along the way and offer nice words when they succeed in the work place, but another thing to consider doing is offering a type of rewards program or a bonus for those employees that excel the most. This is a fun way to get the various employees in the company to work towards a goal and to come into work each and every day with the intent on doing the absolute best job they can.

Thanks for reading this post. Leave us a comment if you have any.
See you next time!

The Most Under-Valued Tip for Managing Employee Retention

The Most Overlooked Method of Improving Employee Retention

Virtually every company measures turnover. For some industries – including hospitality, customer service and retail – typical turnover rates can be as high as 40 percent. One HR manager stated that his organization prepares for high turnover by making sure the jobs are simple to learn so they can quickly incorporate new individuals when they’re hired.

Employee turnover
Employee turnover

While this strategy may be true for some companies, research reveals that it’s not actually a good approach. No matter the position they’re in, permanent employees offer far more value than the ones just cycling through.

Studies reveal that the total cost of losing just one employee can cost a company literally thousands of dollars.

What’s the best way to decrease employee turnover?

Paying your staff what they’re worth is a start. According to experts, a lower salary will drive a higher turnover rate. On the other hand, overpaying them won’t offset a negative work environment. The truth is that several businesses with hired part-time help, such as restaurants, home health care businesses and retail stores, only have so much to spend on their employees’ salaries. The margins in these businesses can be super thin.

Positive work environment
Positive work environment

One of the most crucial areas to consider in decreasing employee turnover is the general work environment. It’s your job as a supervisor to create a positive, collaborative working atmosphere where all members actually want to work as a team. This also includes providing them with a certain amount of flexibility in their schedule.

How employee scheduling software decreases turnover

Since budgets are often too restrictive in terms of higher employee compensation, tools such as Hello Scheduling can provide something they truly desire and for free, and that’s flexibility in their work schedule.

Flexible schedule
Flexible schedule

Schedule flexibility begins by considering the availability of your employees. By using Hello Scheduling, employees will have the ability to log into the company’s system from virtually any computer, mobile phone or tablet in order to enter their availability. Because you’re in charge, you can readily approve or deny their requests. Once you approve their requests, Hello Scheduling will make sure that employees aren’t accidentally scheduled for particular shifts if they are unavailable.

Planning employee shifts
Planning employee shifts

Employees have greater flexibility in their schedule if they can request unavailability when needed.

Once the work schedule is set, Hello Scheduling lets your employees trade shifts with their co-workers, giving them even more flexibility. Trading shifts, or shift swapping, means that an employee can simply trade his or her shift with another coworker’s shift. After a shift is swapped, you’ll instantly receive a notification that some of your employees wish to trade shifts, whereby you can either deny or approve the request.

Also, Hello Scheduling has what’s called “offer up shift” capability. Using this key feature, employees are able to offer their shifts to the entire organization. Any employee who is able to work that particular shift will receive an email that the shift is “offered up.” Unless another employee is willing to take the shift, the original employee is still expected to work it, however.

Key ideas
Key ideas

Other key ways to avoid employee turnover include the following:

Respect every employee in your organization.

In the end, the most enduring and successful organizations are ones that have a deep respect for all their employees (and clients) and a focused mission, while putting their time, money and energy into creating a very engaging and positive work environment. They’re careful to choose the right individuals who’ve proven their work ethics and offer them opportunities to move up the ladder once the time is right.

Appreciate employees
Appreciate employees

Treat your employees as if they’re irreplaceable and valuable.

Employee retention is nothing more than just a symptom of a bigger problem, but it must be taken seriously. Once your employees are firmly established, it’s likely that the only reason they’ll ever leave is because their positions weren’t challenging enough for them.

For example, one outstanding employee can offer much more value overall than three or four average employees. Great employees will work efficiently, please customers, and gain your confidence. If you consider just how much time and money you’ll eventually lose if you must replace one of your star employees, you’ll soon discover how seriously investing in them is one of the smartest moves you can make.

Employee development
Employee development

Let your employees know where they stand.

Take the time to outline clear and challenging career goals for your employees. They want to know what lies ahead of them in terms of taking their job to the next level. Also, perform annual reviews to discuss these important topics and to ensure that you’re both on the same page. This will encourage them to ask you questions concerning their careers and make them feel like an integral part of the organization. If you have ideas on this topic to share, please visit our Delicious page here and leave your comments or suggest some useful links to explore on this topic.

Tangible Property Regulations Edits Could Hurt Businesses

IRS Changes to Tangible Property Regulations Could Hurt Small Businesses, say Experts

 

The new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations on the deduction and capitalization of expenses related to tangible property regulations could hurt small businesses, say tax experts. Still, there is improvement that could also benefit small business owners when it comes to amounts paid to improve a unit of property.

Tangible Property Regulations
Tangible Property Regulations

 

As a consequence, the wise business owner is encouraged to contact a local real estate broker or IRS expert to inquire ask whether new “tangible property regulations” will hurt or event help when it comes to paying the IRS.

Another aspect of the changes to IRS tangible property regulations is linked to how the IRS is actually stating that new regulations will help rather than hurt small business owners. At the same time, tax experts are wary of the IRS when it comes to the impact of any new taxes or guidance for small business owners. For instance, concerned citizens have written to the IRS asking about the many challenges and obligations that small business already faces in this uncertain economy.

IRS regulations
IRS regulations

 

New IRS regulations may burden business owners

The concern about new IRS regulations that are linked to change to tangible property regulations are still somewhat confusing, state officials with the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

For example, the long list of AICPA concerns for small business owners include:

– How will these new IRS regulations provide guidance for such things as capital expenditures such as repairs, business supplies and even maintenance for business properties?

– Will the IRS change current guidance and rules for deductible business expenses?

– Does the IRS have a plan to help business owners make adjustment for such things as inflation?

– How will the IRS calculate adjustments when it comes to prior-year tangible property costs?

In general, today’s already busy and often stressed out small business owner has a real need-to-know when it comes to new IRS tax increases. The best advice, say tax experts, is to consult with a local real estate agent or tax attorney.

Internet Tax Freedom Act
Internet Tax Freedom Act

 

Internet Tax Freedom Act impacts small business owners

While there has been a lot written and reported in the media and online about the Internet Tax Freedom Act, there is little written today about how this act prevents state and local governments from simply taxing users for Net access. In turn, there is concern from small business owners who feel they are already “taxed to death.”

While there is hope that the new Republican-controlled Congress will find some way and means to give small business owners a new permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act in 2015 that will save them money, there are still real fears that more IRS tax is on the way for small businesses.

Moreover, there is more good news on the horizon for investors and small business owners, states the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ). According to a CAQ survey, “investor confidence” in such things as US capital markets has claimed steadily. However, the country is still facing a post-Recession period when there are clear and present dangers for those betting on Internet business growth with their investment portfolios.

 

Burdening small businesses
Burdening small businesses

Tangible Property Regulations hurt small businesses?

The new IRS regulations for tangible property state that a “unit of property” is still defined as a building and its various components. However, there are many longtime business owners commenting online about not being able to decode “just what the IRS wants or requires?”

Overall, there are many knowledgeable real estate brokers who specialize in commercial property rentals for small business who can help with a “reality check” on if tangible property regulations will either help or harm your small business.

On top of all this, when it comes to your tax filings for yourself or clients, consider e-filing this year.  When considering solutions to efile 1099 forms online, I recommend using services like eFile4Biz.com.  They’re an industry leader, and whether you use them or not, their service can be an excellent benchmark to measure other providers quality.

They handle everything – the e-filing, printing and delivery of your forms to recipients as well.  Choosing to file 1099 online and w-2 tax forms will save you tons of running around and stress involved with organizing forms and postage, including running around to drop off the mail.  Their video is shown above, if you want to learn more. Stop by our WordPress page, and post your comments or resource links to debate this matter further.

Why File For Insurance Reimbursements Using The HCFA CMS 1500 Form

Do you work in a doctor’s office?

Working in the patient care field, you probably bill insurances companies. In most offices, the HCFA CMS 1500 form is the most widely used. Previously called the HCFA 1500, it’s now knows simply as CMS 1500. The revised cms 1500 version 02/12 claim form got its name after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which implemented the standard. Countless Medicaid Agencies require this billing form.

Dentists have to file a CMS 1500 for patient care.
Dentists have to file a CMS 1500 for patient care.

The very basics.

This basic form is used to claim reimbursements by suppliers and providers. Basically, it needs to be sent within one year of performing any service. Some folks try to use copies, but quickly realize the unique ink makes it impossible.

Especially surgical procedures usually require a CMS 1500 form for reimbursement
Especially surgical procedures usually require a CMS 1500 form for reimbursement

The process is easy… but shortcuts don’t pay.

For speed sake, payers use OCR tech to scan all forms, and process payments. If you use poor quality – or the wrong type of ink – you’ll receive errors. So, submitting your forms without error means using the exact document, ink quality, and correct patient data. Ignore these steps, and a rejection is almost inevitable.

The conclusion:

Aside from this, waiting to re-send the correct form will delay reimbursement. An option for offices that submit several of these at a time is cms-1500 claim form software. Ultimately, you need a quality form from a reliable provider. This guarantees your medical office has a smooth stream of reimbursements from its form submissions.