Part II: Navigating Medical and Religious Exemptions from a COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

September 28, 2021

Given the reality of imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates by federal, state and local governments, whether or not a health center itself has decided to mandate the vaccine, all health centers must be confident in navigating the legal requirements for allowing for medical and religious exemptions from the vaccine. 

Under federal law, some employees may be exempt from a health center’s requirement to be vaccinated pursuant to the reasonable accommodation provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Under these provisions, there are two types of exemptions: religious exemptions for sincerely held religious beliefs, practices and observances (e.g., faith healing religious denominations that have traditions of declining vaccinations) and medical exemptions for certain disabilities (e.g., an allergy to one of the vaccine components or a medical condition).

In order to be in compliance with federal law, health centers must engage in an interactive process with employees to analyze whether the requests for exemption are reasonable and/or whether allowing such exemptions are creates an undue hardship on the operation of the health center’s business. Importantly, the EEOC has noted that, “[U]ltimately, if an employee cannot be accommodated, employers should determine if any other rights apply under the EEO laws or other federal, state, and local authorities before taking adverse employment action against an unvaccinated employee.” In addition to the ADA and Title VII related exemptions in federal law, some states may also have their exemption framework which can include medical and religious exemptions, as well as philosophical exemptions.

Significantly, there is concern that both the denial of religious exemptions and the granting of them could expose an employer to legal action.  This pandemic may be the first situation in which the federal government may take action against employers who grant wholesale exemptions to employees seeking “religious” exemptions in order to avoid compliance with the federal mandate.

Navigating the process for analyzing and applying these exemptions can be difficult and costly for health centers.  In this webinar series we will explore best practices for handling exemption requests from documenting the interactive process to the confidentiality requirements around the information that you receive from your employees. We will also explore potential legal liabilities for health centers when making decisions to grant or deny religious and medical exemptions from the vaccine.  Finally we will discuss considerations when applying testing requirements to those staff members who have been vaccinated.


Please note: This webinar series is offered at a discounted price of $198 for all Health Center Compliance Premium Plan Subscribers. For more information on our Premium Plan, click here or Contact Us.


The On-Demand version of this webinar will be available within one week of the conclusion of the live webinar. 

Target Audience

  • Health Center Clinical Staff
  • Risk Managers
  • Compliance Officers
  • CEOs, COOs, CMOs
  • Clinical Staff
  • Human Resources Managers and Staff

Learning Objectives

After these webinars, you will be better able to:

  • Evaluate the legal framework of vaccine mandates
  • Understand how medical and religious exemptions work
  • Learn how to properly document the interactive process of evaluating medical and religious exemptions
  • Evaluate risk management considerations when granting or denying a medical or religious exemption
  • Identify strategies to limit employment-related risk for your health center providers when mandating COVID-19 vaccines
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 Certificate of Attendance
  • 1.20 CPE
    FTLF is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors.
Course opens: 
09/14/2021
Course expires: 
12/29/2021
Event starts: 
09/28/2021 3:00pm EDT
Event ends: 
09/28/2021 4:00pm EDT

MOLLY EVANS  

A Partner in the firm’s health law practice group, Molly advises health centers on the management of clinical, employment and workforce-related risks, with a particular focus on professional liability, Federal Tort Claims Act, and HIPAA matters. From her experience as both a private attorney and in-house counsel, Molly knows the importance of managing liability and risk issues in mission-driven organizations. [Full Bio]

DIANNE PLEDGIE

As Partner and Compliance Counsel with the firm’s health law practice group, Dianne advises health centers on implementing effective compliance programs and on addressing top compliance risk areas. Dianne counsels health centers and other organizations on developing compliance programs that include the OIG’s seven elements, respond to identified compliance risk areas, and reflect the organization’s culture.  Dianne also advises health centers and other organizations on patient privacy and confidentiality, including the HIPAA Privacy Rule and 42 CFR Part 2.  She has experience responding to privacy and security incidents, including determining whether there has been a breach, notifying patients and the government, and creating corrective action plans. [Full Bio]

Participants can earn up to 1.20 CPE credits in Specialized Knowledge and Applications upon completion of all course requirements.

ATTENDEE REQUIREMENTS FOR CPE CREDIT

If you purchase CPE credit for this webinar you must satisfy the following conditions in order to receive your certificate:

  1. Answer at least 3 of the 5 polling questions during the webinar
  2. Complete the evaluation survey after the conclusion of the webinar or in the follow-up email

Upon completion of these requirements, FTLF will email you your CPE Certificate within seven (7) business days.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • Prerequisites: None 
  • Target Audience: Health Center Clinical Staff; Risk Managers; Compliance Officers; CEOs, COOs, CMOs; Clinical Staff; Human Resources Managers and Staff
  • Advanced Preparation: None  
  • Program Level: All
  • Delivery Method: Group Internet Based
  • Attendance Requirements: In order to be awarded the full credits, you must respond to three (3) out of five (5) polling questions.

Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website www.nasbaregistry.org (formerly www.learningmarket.org).

Available Credit

  • 1.00 Certificate of Attendance
  • 1.20 CPE
    FTLF is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors.
Please login or register to take this course.

Access to the recorded version of this webinar is included in your purchase.

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