X

COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions CMA has received during the COVID-19 outbreak. By default, the most recent answers will appear up top. You can also filter the FAQ by category. We will update this resource regularly.

More questions? Email communications@cmadocs.org.


Filter FAQ by Category

 

Can an employer administer a COVID-19 test before permitting employees to enter the workplace?

posted on

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance that employers may administer a COVID-19 test (a test to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus) to employees prior to entering the workplace. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the mandatory testing must be “job related” and “consistent with business necessity.” This means that, under the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, an employer may require employee testing to determine if they have the virus, because an individual with COVID-19 entering the workplace will pose a direct threat to the health of others.

The EEOC further advised that employers who do enact a mandatory testing policy should ensure that the tests are accurate and reliable. Employers may rely on guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other public health authorities to determine what may be considered safe and accurate testing, and should check for updates (links below). Employers should be cognizant of the potential for false-positives or false-negatives associated with a particular test, and should understand that accurate testing only reveals if the virus is currently present.

With regard to hospital medical staffs (many of whom are not hospital employees), in non-pandemic times, the medical staff can (and many do) adopt a policy to require testing for infectious diseases as a condition of medical staff membership and privileging. For example, hospitals may wish to adopt policies to require flu vaccines for medical staff members. While currently there is no state law that requires health care workers to specifically undergo COVID-19 testing prior to patient contact, existing state laws, such as those that require tuberculosis (TB) testing of health care workers as a condition of employment, support the sentiment of mandatory screening of health care workers for infectious diseases before interacting with patients. (See, 22 C.C.R. § 70723(b).) 

As noted by the EEOC, any required testing for COVID-19 must be “job related” and “consistent with business necessity.” Hospitals that plan to implement mandatory COVID-19 testing should consult and work with medical staff leadership to develop policies that can be reviewed and approved by the medical staff.

Sources:

| Categories: Hospital and Medical Staff, Labor and Personnel, Testing | Return

Search the FAQ

FAQ Categories

Subscribe to FAQ

Get notified immediately when we publish a new FAQ.

Name

Disclaimer

Your use of the CMA website, including information provided on the COVID 19 Resource Page, is governed by the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy linked below.  All Content on this website, including COVID 19 related content, is general in nature, is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical, ethical, financial, legal, coding, or other advice, and should not be used as the sole basis for decision-making or as a substitute for obtaining competent consultation and specific advice from a physician, attorney, insurer, or other knowledgeable professional. In all instances, situation-specific circumstances necessitate consideration of factors which cannot be and are not addressed herein and the information provided is not entirely inclusive, exclusive, or exhaustive of all reasonable methods or approaches to addressing the situation described. CMA makes no warranty, express or implied, and assumes no medical, ethical, financial, or legal liability or responsibility for the content, or for any method, process, strategy, or approach described or referenced herein and CMA shall not be held liable for the content or use thereof. Any use or adaptation of this information must include these disclaimers.

Not a CMA member?

Join nearly 50,000 physicians making a direct impact on the practice of medicine and the health of California.