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Insurance helps hospice care providers focus on the patient

By Brian Murphy

Insurance helps hospice care providers focus on the patient

Hospice organizations can make important contributions to their communities.

Hospice organizations focus on the care – not a cure – for the patient, as well as support to the patient’s loved ones. If your organization operates a hospice, you are in a unique position to affect quality of life in your communities.

By making sure your organization has appropriate insurance protection, you can keep your focus on the important services you provide to patients and their families. Take time to review the declarations page of your insurance policy. Many policies contain a professional liability deductible. These deductibles can be sizeable, so it’s important to maintain a line item in your operating budget to account for this exposure.

Here are some insurance coverages to consider, but each organization is unique. Talk to your local, independent insurance agent and your legal adviser for information specific to your situation.

MANAGEMENT LIABILITY (D&O)

Healthcare Institutions Directors & Officers Liability (D&O) coverage protects management of hospices and their subsidiaries – including past, present and future directors, officers, trustees, administrators, employees, volunteers and members of boards or committees – against alleged wrongdoings. In the hospice industry, managers must direct peer review committees and quality of care and staff privileges. Periodic training regarding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) is essential for healthcare-related organizations. These duties and others put hospices at risk for D&O claims, such as written demands for monetary damages, formal administrative actions, civil suits and regulatory proceedings.

D&O claims cannot be taken lightly, as they can quickly become costly. Examples include: alleged improper billing and collection practices, former business partner separations and severance disputes, breach of duty and denial of clinical privileges.

EPLI

Employment Practices Liability Insurance is another crucial coverage for hospice organizations, along with third-party EPLI coverage. Claims can potentially include discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination. Sex and race discrimination are the most common types of EPLI discrimination claims in the workplace. For example, in the hospice industry, a highly paid nurse replaced by a younger, lower paid nurse could sue for age discrimination.

CYBER LIABILITY

Don’t overlook the threat of cyber-related incidents, and look for insurance coverage to protect the hospice from data beaches, identity theft, computer attacks, network security liability and cyber extortion. Thousands of patient names and Social Security numbers have the potential to be exposed due to security breach …read more

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Health club staff must be ready for emergencies

By Brian Rawlings

Health club staff must be ready for emergencies

Fitness staff should receive CPR training

The June edition of ClubSolutions Magazine, a publication for health club operators, features an article by Brian Rawlings, national program director for Cincinnati’s fitness, sports and recreation program. He explains why it’s important for health clubs to train employees on emergency response, and suggests a quick way to remember what to do in an emergency.

The Three R’s of Emergency Response

In a health club setting, emergencies can occur at any time. Medical emergencies are the most common when someone is injured, or has a cardiac episode or other health-related issue. Weather emergencies can certainly pop up, as well as other disasters such as fire or water damage. Having staff members who are trained in proper response techniques is vital to keeping everyone safe and protecting the club from harm. A quick, memorable sequence to implement for your staff comprises these three R’s: More

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Disability insurance keeps your focus on recovery

By Cincinnati Life

Disability insurance keeps your focus on recovery

Disability insurance can protect loved ones when a worker becomes disabled.

While an unexpected death can be devastating to a family, especially if the deceased had no life insurance, an unexpected disability can be equally as devastating. Without disability insurance, the person affected may worry about paying the bills when the primary focus should be on rehabilitation and recovery.

But disability is rare, right? Unfortunately not. According to the Social Security Administration, a 20-year-old worker has a 1 in 4 chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age. The average worker faces a 30 percent chance of job loss for 90 days or more after becoming disabled, according to LIMRA, a leading insurance and financial services trade organization. LIMRA also found that more than half of all personal bankruptcies and mortgage foreclosures came after a debilitating injury.

Disability insurance protects you and your family from loss of income if you are unable to work because of injury or illness. Policies for individuals offer terms of one, two or five years or up to age 65. Policies generally have waiting periods of 30 to 365 days before benefits begin.

Consider purchasing coverage sufficient to cover ordinary expenses, such as mortgages, insurance, groceries, utilities and other incidentals that continue when you are unable to work. This allows you and your family to maintain your lifestyle while you recuperate from a debilitating injury or illness. A monthly benefit amount equal to 60 to 70 percent of your gross income is a standard recommendation, but your local independent insurance agent can help you determine the best coverage for your situation.

No one wants to worry about being able to make ends meet after being disabled, yet LIMRA finds that 70 percent of Millennials and 68 percent of Generation X worry about not being able to work or support themselves due to a disability.

Talk to your local, independent insurance agent about finding coverage to meet your needs.

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New federal overtime guidelines under FLSA

By Yelana Sepeck

New federal overtime guidelines under FLSA

EPLI coverage helps protect businesses over employment matters.

A new federal rule for overtime pay that becomes effective December 1, 2016, may increase an employer’s need for EPLI – employment practices liability insurance.

In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule updating its overtime regulations. For decades, the DOL’s federal wage and hour law, known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), required employers to pay nonexempt employees overtime at 1.5 times an employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. The DOL last updated the exemptions to the FLSA’s overtime standards in 2004.

The 2016 update expands eligibility for overtime pay by limiting exemptions. And states can expand overtime protections even further. If your business employs nonexempt workers, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with any updates to state-specific rules.

EPLI coverage protects your business or organization and your employees when confronted with allegations that an employee’s rights were violated. EPLI provides protection for covered claims, relieving insureds from paying significant defense costs and potential settlements or judgments. Additionally, having the proper protection in place helps you attract and retain the most qualified people.

The new overtime rule effective December 1 more than doubles the salary threshold for exempt employees, increasing the number of employees eligible for overtime pay.

In most instances, employers must reclassify salaried employees who earn less than $913 per week as nonexempt employees. This means that formerly salaried employees earning less than $47,476 annually will become eligible for overtime pay.

Going forward, the DOL will update the salary and compensation levels automatically every three years. According to DOL projections, it is estimated that on January 1, 2020, the threshold will rise to $51,000.

The updated rule allows employers to consider some nondiscretionary bonuses, commissions and various types of incentive payments to satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary threshold.

If you have not begun implementing a strategy to comply with the updated overtime rule, now is the time to begin. A successful implementation strategy includes:

  • A detailed transition plan
  • Handouts explaining the new rules and transition timelines
  • Talking points for managers responsible for discussing changes with employees
  • Training on proper time-reporting procedures for reclassified employees
  • Addressing changes in payment frequency or timing for reclassified employees

Like many employment issues, the new overtime guidelines can be complex. Contact your local independent agent to discuss EPLI coverage for your business.

Coverages described here are in the most general terms …read more

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Training is key to correct fire extinguisher usage

By Justin Yates

Training is key to correct fire extinguisher usage

Invest the time in training to correctly use a fire extinguisher.

Fire extinguishers can be an effective tool, but only when you select the correct type for your needs; install them in the most effective locations; and learn the proper way to use them. This three-part series covers the basics of fire extinguishers.

Part 3 of 3 –

Once activated, a fire extinguisher typically provides less than 30 seconds of use. That’s why proper training and application are critical to ensuring effectiveness.

Whether in your home or place of business, your first action when a fire occurs should be notification:

  1. Call the local fire department
  2. Activate the alarm system
  3. Ensure that everyone begins evacuating the building

If the fire is still in the early stages, consider using a fire extinguisher. Before attempting to suppress the fire, be sure to verify that you have a safe evacuation route out of the building and that the smoke and heat are not too great to keep you from getting to safety.

Remember the acronym PASS when using the extinguisher:

  • P – Pull the Pin
  • A – Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire
  • S – Squeeze the release handle to activate the extinguisher
  • S – Sweep from side to side until the fire appears to be out

If the fire continues to grow, evacuate the building and allow the fire department to suppress the fire.

Remember: If you have any doubt, GET OUT!

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employees should be familiar the general principles of a fire extinguisher and the hazards involved. Many local fire departments offer hands-on training and training aids to local businesses. Reach out to your local fire department and see how they can assist your training needs. More information on fire extinguisher use is available from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Part 1: Select the correct fire extinguisher for your needs

Part 2: Correctly place fire extinguishers for optimum use

This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.

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Correctly place fire extinguishers for optimum use

By Robb Slawski

Correctly place fire extinguishers for optimum use

Place extinguishers so that you have a clear path to the exit.

Fire extinguishers can be an effective tool, but only when you select the correct type for your needs; install them in the most effective locations; and learn the proper way to use them. This three-part series covers the basics of fire extinguishers.

Part 2 of 3 –

Fire extinguishers are a critical component of your building’s overall fire protection system. With properly trained personnel and correctly placed and maintained extinguishers, these devices can suppress a fire in the early stages.

Fire extinguisher servicing contractors can advise you about placement and maintenance of extinguishers, but it’s beneficial to understand the basics.

FIRE EXTINGUISHER DISTRIBUTION

Extinguishers should be:

      • located along the normal travel paths in your facility, including exit paths
      • highly visibility
      • easily accessible
      • available for immediate use

Maximum travel distances to Class A or D extinguishers should not exceed 75 feet; Class B, 50 feet; and Class K, 30 feet. Maximum travel distances to Class C extinguishers, for electrical devices, should be no greater than for the same hazards (Class A or B) without electricity. Certain circumstances may require shorter travel distances; your fire extinguisher servicing contractor can advise you.

INSTALLATION OF PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

For the A rating, 1A is equal to one gallon of water being distributed from the unit. Class A hazard extinguishers are rated per A unit, 1A to 40A, and can protect a maximum floor area per unit. For a light hazard (office exposure), the floor area is 3,000 square feet; an ordinary hazard (retail store, light manufacturing), 1,500; and for extra hazard (car repair, wood working, spray painting or coating), 1,000. The maximum floor area of any extinguisher regardless of the A rating is 11,250 square feet.

For the B rating, 1B is equal to an actual fire test conducted with the extinguisher on one square foot of a burning liquid, one-quarter inch deep. Class B hazard extinguishers are rated per B unit, 5B to 80B, but do not have a maximum floor area per extinguisher.

Class C extinguishers are required for energized electrical equipment. They are classified as an A or B hazard, so they should be sized and located based on that designation.

Class D extinguishers are for fires involving combustible metals. The size of the unit is based on the specific combustible metal present, its physical particle size, the area to be covered and recommendations from the extinguisher manufacturer.

Class K extinguishers are designed …read more

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Select the correct fire extinguisher for your needs

By Robb Slawski

Select the correct fire extinguisher for your needs

Choose the right extinguisher for your situation.

Fire extinguishers can be an effective tool, but only when you select the correct type for your needs; install them in the most effective locations; and learn the proper way to use them. This three-part series covers the basics of fire extinguishers.

Part 1 of 3 –

A portable fire extinguisher is an effective first line of defense in controlling small fires within your home or business. For maximum effectiveness, choose the correct extinguisher for your needs.

To select the proper fire extinguisher, first consider:

  • what materials could fuel a fire
  • how much of that material is available
  • who will use the extinguisher
  • the capacity of the extinguisher (see classifications below)
  • whether chemicalsat the scene could react with the extinguishing agent
FIRE HAZARD CLASSIFICATIONS

In its NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) identifies five primary classifications of fire hazards. Identifying these can help you select the appropriate extinguisher:

Class A – ordinary combustible materials, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber and plastic

Class B – flammable and combustible liquids and flammable gases

Class C – energized electrical equipment

Class D – combustible metals, such as potassium, sodium and magnesium

Class K – cooking greases and fats

Class A, B and C extinguishers are often found in homes and businesses; Class D, in factories; and Class K, in commercial kitchens. In addition to the fire hazard classification, a numerical rating measures the extinguishing potential of type A and B extinguishers. The larger the number, in general, the larger the fire or fuel load the extinguisher can accommodate. You select the extinguisher size based on the fuel load and hazards of the area as well as how far you must travel to reach the extinguisher.

FIRE LOAD

Consider the three types of occupancy hazard (fire load) in a building when choosing an extinguisher:

  • Light hazard, with few combustibles: offices, churches, school rooms and assembly halls.
  • Ordinary or moderate hazards, with combustibles in an ordinary form or small quantity: mercantile storage and displays, auto showrooms and parking garages.
  • Extra or high hazard, with substantial quantities of combustibles that readily support combustion: woodworking, vehicle servicing, product display showrooms and warehouses with high-piled combustibles
SELECTING THE EXTINGUISHER TYPE

Evaluate your fire hazards to select the most suitable extinguisher. If you face more than one fire hazard, select an extinguisher that can control all hazards present while avoiding any that cannot be used in your particular situation. For example: