In an August survey of 15 major employers that collectively employ about 2.6 million people, 57% said they had decided to postpone their back-to-work plans because of recent increases in Covid-19 cases.
Sutter Health wanted to postpone paying its $575 Million settlement reached in a state antitrust case, as coronavirus cases rise.
This case could have nationwide implications if other states begin to examine and challenge local practices, according to Elizabeth Mitchell, CEO of Pacific Business Group on Health, which initiated the lawsuit on behalf of employers and stakeholders.
Recognizing trends in health care that align with the COVID-19 pandemic and related racial disparities can improve the design of timely and effective strategies by employers to safely return employees to the workplace. Some of these efforts include less wait time for testing results, an improved focus on social determinants of health, and greater accessibility to care, said Lauren Vela, MBA, senior director at Pacific Business Group on Health.
Twenty members of the PBGH are class members in the lawsuit. PBGH was disappointed that preliminary approval was delayed.
“We do not believe that adhering to ethical business practices should impede [Sutter’s] ability to care for patients,” Mitchell said. “What the settlement addressed were anti-competitive business practices like gag laws, all-or-nothing contracting, and prohibiting tiering. They’re just not related to what [Sutter] is saying is their new need because of COVID.”
Dogged by issues of cost — diagnostic tests start at around $100 each — access, logistics and employee privacy, tests aren’t part of most back-to-work plans.
Nearly two-thirds of employers say they will focus more on social determinants of health (SDOH) due to recent social unrest, according to a Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) survey released Monday morning.
Employers can require employees to be tested before returning to work, but the Pacific Business Group on Health said it would be highly unusual for a large employer to require testing for employees without paying for the tests in full.
The state-by-state guidance and rules come after Congress and the Trump administration this spring assured Americans that coronavirus testing and any necessary trips to doctors and hospitals would be free. But lawmakers didn’t limit charges if the testing is done out of network — or prohibit labs or hospitals from billing patients if insurers refuse to pay their posted charges.