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Viewpoints from Craig Hasday
On a daily basis I see dozens of entrants into the return-to-work space, in what is sure to be a lucrative, high-demand opportunity. One large insurance broker just announced their version which, for about $20,000, an employer can get a logoed screening checklist including – get this – “directions on how to take temperature and [interpret the] results.” Many vendors are hawking logoed personal protection equipment (PPE) including masks, gloves and sanitizer at multiples of the price charged before the announcement of the pandemic and regrettably, during this crisis, some are being opportunistic.
So, it was nice to see that UnitedHealthcare just released their “ProtectWell” program, created in conjunction with Microsoft, and that this will be available free of charge to U.S. employers. The program consists of a smartphone-based protocol tool that screens employees for COVID-19 symptoms and helps employers manage the return-to-work process safely. I have not previewed this version; however, I have seen several symptom checklists that result in a green-light email signifying it’s okay to return to work, or a red-light email, which refers the employee to a physician for further evaluation and potential virus testing.
This week, we hosted a webinar with Piedmont Health Systems – a large hospital and healthcare system in the Southeast – and to me the content was fascinating. It highlighted return-to-work practices and important considerations.
In addition to employee health screening, employers will need to decide about other things:
- how to configure their offices to ensure social distancing
- how to sanitize their offices and keep shared spaces clean with each new user
- how to rotate staff since occupancy will be reduced
- what PPE will be needed and how it will be procured
- whether, and under what circumstances, to do or require testing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are the best sources for the latest guidelines. It would be wise to get advice from qualified medical professionals – these decisions are too important to rely on anyone else. If you would like to hear the Piedmont webinar email me, and I will send you the recording.
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President, National Employee Benefits Practice