Monitoring Legislation in the context of COVID 19 is to say the least challenging. As expected and appropriate the focus of the legislature Nationally and in RI is on addressing this public health challenge.
Some of the proposed Legislation we are monitoring this year includes:
Nationally: those issues noted on the AOTA Advocacy and Policy Page as well as:
US Senate Bill S-3513 Providing Americans Insured Days of Leave Act of 2020
and Companion US House Bill H.R.6150 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act
Both bills provide for mandatory time accrual, 14 days of paid sick time in addition during a public health emergency, time allowed to care for a close family member with the definition significantly expanded for who qualifies, and removal of the requirement of a min number of hours worked in the previous year to qualify for these benefits (currently this is 1250 hours which precludes those working less than 25 hours per week from medical or family medical leaves of absence). Click on the bill numbers to see the full text.
At home in RI: The Legislative Committee began the legislative session strong with a Thank You table at the state house just as session began. RIOTA shared information about Occupational Therapy, RIOTA bookmarks, pens and sweet treats and offered our assistance with any health care topics or questions. We are monitoring a few bills and were asked to provide input on returning OTs to the Veterans Hospital and about the text of a bill to provide progress updates to parents of children with IEPs. As the latter is already in place, members of RIOTA were able to reassure the bill sponsor and clarify how updates are done. With the RI Legislature closed due to COVID 19 most bills which did get hearings are all on hold for further study until the session resumes. Our plan to hold an OT Month event at the state house has been postponed until next year.
The bills we continue to monitor include:
Click on the underlined bills above to read their text.
Click HERE to learn more about the RI Residence Modification Grant Program
COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
RIOTA reached out to the department of health regarding the vaccine mandate, the letter can be read here and received the following answer:
I am providing the following resources regarding the vaccine requirement you may find helpful:
Section 8.2 (A)(5) addresses the definition of health care worker.
Section 8.2 (A)(6) addresses the definition of health care provider.
Section 8.3 (A)(3) addresses the vaccination requirement.
Section 8.3 (D) addresses the medical exemption.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Vaccine Requirement:
I am not sure what administrative actions will be taken against health care workers working in licensed facilities or licensed health care providers engaged in direct patient care who do not comply with the vaccine requirement. That will be determined in part by our legal department.
Watch this page or your email from RIOTA for updates or how to get involved.