Archive for month: April, 2019

When Marijuana is Legalized in Georgia, how will That Impact the Workplace?

Categories: Articles

It’s only a matter of time. Although Georgia law continues to prohibit the use, sale, possession, growth or distribution of marijuana as of March 2019, it is only a matter of time before it becomes legalized in the state of Georgia.  As with the end of alcohol prohibition in 1933, statewide temperance laws were continued after the 18th amendment repeal in some states and Mississippi remained “dry” until 1966: it just depends on the state and how conservative its laws are. But as we get closer to legalization, will the use of marijuana still be prohibited at work, and especially outside of working hours?

In recent news, an issue regarding not hiring people who want to be become Atlanta police officers who have used marijuana in the past and could not be hired because of this is up for debate. Rules are being considered for change to hire those who have used marijuana in the past, but once hired, are subjected to zero tolerance, on and off the job. This is, rightfully so, causing problems for those who have been turned down in the past due to marijuana use at any time in their lives. The same rule applies to many employers, in the private and public sectors, so it’s probably going to get dicey before the smoke finally clears.

It’s no longer a matter of if … it’s a matter of when. The big question is how legalization of marijuana will affect the workplace. For many employers, implementing new-hire drug testing serves to help save money by offering large discounts on Workers’ Compensation insurance premiums.  But in some rural areas or specialized fields it is sometimes difficult to find qualified workers who can pass a drug test.; this is where a well-written employee handbook put together by your HR department or Human Resource company is worth its weight in gold.

But what about an employee who has been prescribed medicinal marijuana or THC oil by a qualified doctor? In general, Georgia employers may have and maintain a zero-tolerance policy on the use of marijuana in any form. As of now, Georgia courts have not ruled on whether or not such a ban discriminates against disabled employees who have been prescribed the use of marijuana by a doctor. Other states have ruled, some for the employee, some for the employer. For now, it appears that, until a court rules otherwise, not hiring a THC user or terminating one is permissible. Having a clear and unambiguous statement in the employee handbook is a good idea.

It all comes down to employers keeping the workplace safe, keeping employees happy, and working within the law. Common sense also plays a big part in all of this. Alcohol, although not illegal, is not permitted for use during work hours. Just as an employer will not tolerate an employee coming to work snockered, they will not tolerate an employee coming to work stoned. All of this should be clearly and completely covered in your employee handbook. Legalization of marijuana does not mean it would be legal to partake during work hours, just as alcohol is not permitted, unless otherwise stated in your employee handbook.

Zero tolerance is the language used in most employee handbooks, and those two words make it crystal clear about your company’s stance on drugs and alcohol. If you have not addressed this issue in your handbook or if you need to update it with the pending legalization of marijuana, a good Human Resource company like Stellaris Group in Marietta, Georgia can sit down with you and draft an unambiguous book of company policies that leave no question about where your company stands regarding drug and alcohol use in the workplace.

Dawn Stastny, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is the Managing Partner and Founder of Stellaris Group, LLC. To learn more about Human Resources Outsourcing and Consulting, connect with her at 678-935-6001 or by email at Dawn.Stastny@Stellaris.Co

Fax Service+ HIPAA Compliance

Categories: Articles

Despite its dated roots, and the myriad complaints, fax machines can be HIPAA-compliant as long as appropriate security safeguards are followed. In short, HIPAA regulations do not prevent covered entities (health providers, plans and clearinghouses that transmit health information electronically) from faxing.

It’s the covered entity’s responsibility to ensure their fax practices comply with HIPAA privacy rules. These include the “minimum necessary” rule, which limits information in the fax to the minimum amount necessary in certain instances, as well as the implementation of administrative, technical, and physical security policies to protect PHI.[1]

Unfortunately, these rules are not always followed. Academic physician Sachin H. Jain, M.D. commented that most fax machines sit open and accessible to a wide range of individuals in most healthcare settings–suspending any expectation of privacy and security.[2]

For obvious reasons, fax machines must be located in secure, non-public areas to prevent unauthorized personnel from viewing faxes. Office staff should always verify the recipient’s fax number and use a cover sheet that does not include patient information.

Most Common Fax Related Violations

Sending a fax to the wrong number is one of the most common errors, as evidenced by a number of reported breaches. Last year, Oakland, Calif.-based West Coast Children’s Clinic had to notify patients of a HIPAA breach after it faxed a patient’s PHI to an incorrect fax number. The data included the patient’s name, date of birth, developmental and psychological treatment history, family history, educational history, testing results and prescribed treatment.

What are the lessons to be learned? Make sure security safeguards are in place when using the fax machine to transmit PHI, and confirm your staff is properly trained to whenever handling and transmitting patient information.

Internet fax replaces paper with digital transmissions and emerged as a popular alternative to the traditional fax. Internet fax is typically provided as a hosted service, whereby health providers can subscribe to a third-party entity that converts emails and other content to faxes.

Typically no human interaction occurs, thereby eliminating human error. This change in workflow reduces risk and offers added convenience and efficiency over traditional fax machines. For healthcare providers that aren’t ready to eliminate fax altogether, moving to secure Internet fax can be a valuable step toward mitigating the inefficiencies and security risks posed by traditional fax machines.

 

Article submitted by Paul Mancini, National Sales with Clear Choice Telephones.

Questions? Contact Paul at 678-387-3200 or paul@clearchoiceinc.com

 

Paul Mancini

678-387-3200 desk

678-464-4701 cell

Spotlight: Jennifer Autian

Categories: Team Member Spotlight

Family – married? Children? Pets? Married – 20 years coming up this year. Son in High School – typical teenager who starts driving this summer. We also have 2 cats – 20 lbs and 6 lbs.

Where did you grow up? Interests as a child? What did you want to be “when you grew up”? North of Chicago, in a small town. Came south to warm up – Nashville first, then Atlanta. Played tons of sports growing up – usually on the boys’ teams. What did I want to be? Physical Therapist.

What college did you attend? What did you study? Best memories of those years? Undergraduate at Vanderbilt, MBA from GA State. Double major in math and Spanish, double minor in psychology and German. Change of scene was the best part.

Where in Atlanta do you live? What brought you here? Roswell. 75S (kidding). Next big city south of Nashville was Atlanta – wanted to be here before ’96 Olympics.

Hobbies? Any charity or philanthropy? Crafty when not analytical. Home renovations are of great interest along with my son’s activities. Enjoy hiking too. I spend a lot of time at “Fur Kids”, which is an animal shelter. I’m there at least once a week. And church.

If money were no issue, what would you do with your time? Beach. Love waves and reading

Favorite food? Worst food? Mexican food. Sushi.

Cook or clean dishes? Cook. Usually end up doing both anyways though. I clean as I go though.

Favorite sports team(s)? Favorite book? Favorite movie? Chicago Bears. Football in general. Field of Dreams.

Furthest you’ve ever traveled? Best trip of life? Europe for Spanish studies. Best: honeymoon in Hawaii.

Speak any other languages? Supposedly Spanish and German. Still some Spanish in there but not much German.

Mountains, beach, or staycation? Mountains & beach. I like to hike. I like beach walks. Certainly not a homebody.

Role model in your life? Step-father is likely the most influential. He started a business on own and grew to three locations. Always took care of his employees. “Don’t pay for something you haven’t earned yet.”

What is one tidbit of information about you we wouldn’t expect? Rowed crew in college for three years.

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