Now your company will need to accept telemedicine visits as certification for employees’ Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requests.
A new Wage and Hour Division Field Assistance Bulletin clarifies that a virtual doctor’s visit counts as an “in-person” doctor’s visit for FMLA purposes.
Here’s what you need to keep your company in compliance.
To keep requests in check
You likely know first-hand the strain leave — even unpaid — can put on an employer. So the last thing you want is for anyone to abuse it.
In this new telemedicine guidance the feds also put some conditions on this to keep requests both in check and on the up-and-up.
The videoconference must include an examination, evaluation or treatment. Also, it must come from a state-licensed healthcare provider.
What can’t count as virtual doctors’ visits:
- phone calls
- emails, or
- text messages.
Spread the word
Chances are you’ve encouraged employees to take advantage of telemedicine options throughout the pandemic. Maybe you’ve even reduced or eliminated co-pays for this service.
In light of this new guidance you’ll want to make sure all managers understand what’s now in-bounds (and what’s not).
Employees still not taking advantage of your telemedicine program?
To help encourage employees to use the service, the folks at Mercer suggest:
- Testimonials: Real-life examples from how a peer benefited from the service can help boost awareness.
- Time-specific notifications: Explain how the service can be used during specific times of the year – for example, winter communications about the flu.
- Rewards: Consider a small bonus for completing the telemedicine pre-use application form.