Whilst 2017 was anticipated to be a fairly static year for UK employment law, that did not in fact prove to be the case, and there were various notable developments. To a large degree, 2018 is likely to be defined by the ongoing Brexit negotiations and the passage of the EU Withdrawal Bill, which will, amongst other things, lay the framework for the future movement of EU workers to the United Kingdom. Employers should, however, be aware of some additional key developments on the horizon.
The Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act is having its moment. At least 32 class action lawsuits have been filed by Illinois residents in state court in the past two months challenging the collection, use and storage of biometric data by companies in the state. This may cause a reassessment of company strategies and development of new defenses in the use of advancing biometric technology.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology recently released a report detailing user experience research on patient access to health data. The Report sought to examine the experiences of individuals and processes of health systems, with commentary from medical record fulfillment administrators, to determine how the medical record request process can be improved for consumers.
Jennifer Geetter and Lisa Schmitz Mazur wrote this bylined article on the regulatory implications of technology-supported devices, resources, and solutions that facilitate health patient-provider interaction. “Health industry regulators are struggling with how to apply the existing privacy regulatory regime, and the permitted uses and disclosures for which they provide, in this new world of healthcare innovation,” the authors wrote.
Jennifer Geetter and Dale Van Demark wrote this bylined article on how companies must manage and govern their use of digital healthcare information assets. “Organizations will need to design and implement digital governance structures that … include additional components and organizational stakeholders, in order to meet the business and strategic demands of the digital health revolution,” the authors wrote.
Amanda Enyeart and Lisa Schmitz Mazur wrote this bylined article explaining how the HHS Office of Inspector General used a survey by the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program run by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to conclude that CMS made $729 million in inappropriate EHR incentive payments to physicians out of some $6 billion in such payments during the review period.
As one of the last states to retain highly restrictive (and arguably anti-competitive) telemedicine practice standards, health care providers, regulatory boards, technology companies, payors and other stakeholders have been actively monitoring Texas’ approach to telemedicine regulation and the related Teladoc case. Senate Bill 1107, a bill that significantly eases the delivery of care via telemedicine in the state of Texas, was passed on May 18 and signed into law by Governor Abbott on May 30.
McDermott will be holding its annual Employee Benefits Innovators Roundtable Series this month. The roundtables offer experienced benefits professionals an opportunity to discuss cutting-edge, topical employer-driven benefit programs with their peers and members of McDermott’s employee benefits team. We are meeting in four locations this year. Join us in one of the following cities:
May 9 | Silicon Valley, California
May 11 | Los Angeles, California
May 22 | Chicago, Illinois
May 24 | New York, New York
The topics for our roundtable series sessions will include:
- The Future of Employee Benefits Under the Trump Administration
- Should Your Plan Cover All Drugs? (FDA-Approved/Unapproved, Off-Label, Marijuana, etc.)
- ERISA Retirement Plan Fee Litigation – Learning From Recent Class Actions
- Paying Off Student Loans as an Employee Benefit
- Equal Privacy and Cybersecurity – Now Part of Your Plan’s Independent Audit
- Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Equality Index – Opposite-Sex Domestic Partner Benefit
For more information about how to register for one of our roundtables, please contact Erin Nelson.
Lisa Schmitz Mazur wrote this bylined article on the challenges employers face in getting employees to use telehealth benefits. Suggesting that employees either are unaware of or are hesitant to use these benefits, Ms. Mazur wrote that “employers and telehealth providers must develop and implement (often in tandem) strategies for addressing these barriers to increase employee utilization.”
Current indications are that 2017 may be a fairly static year as regards to employment law.
Whilst it is anticipated the government will trigger Article 50 to start Brexit negotiations, these are likely to last for at least two years, and existing employment laws are unlikely to feel any ripple effect from leaving the European Union for some time.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister has asked for a review, expected to take around six months, on whether current employment laws are adequate to protect the rights of the growing numbers of atypical workers. It is unlikely though that any resulting changes will come into effect in 2017.
There are, however, a number of key developments that employers will definitely need to get to grips with, or at least prepare for, in 2017.
*Cindy LaMontagne (Trainee) contributed to this article.