Enrollment in the new California COVID-19 Vaccination Program is currently limited. However, when enrollment is expanded, the following requirements will apply:
While there is no blanket exemption for physicians under the emergency standards, the standards do not apply to employers and employees who are covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Disease (ATD) regulation, California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 5199. The ATD standards, in turn, apply to employees at many different types of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, medical offices, and other outpatient medical facilities. Importantly, the ATD standards exempt certain outpatient medical specialty practices whose policy is not to diagnose or treat ATDs and if they meet the following three conditions:
- Aerosol-generating procedures are not performed on ATD cases or suspected cases;
- The employer's Injury and Illness Prevention Program includes written screening procedures to identify potential ATD cases and refer them to an appropriate medical provider for further evaluation; and
- The employer trains their employees on the screening procedures.
(For more information regarding the applicability of the ATD standards, see CMA Health Law Library document #6303). Accordingly, medical practices that are exempt from the ATD standards must follow the new COVID-19 emergency temporary standards. Additionally, the DIR has clarified that the emergency temporary standards apply to employees at facilities subject to the ATD standards who are not identified in the employer’s ATD Exposure Control Plan as having occupational exposure to ATDs. For example, the emergency temporary standards would apply to administrative employees who work only in an office environment separated from patient care facilities.
Finally, the standards apply only when the employees work at the workplace, or are exposed at work, but not when they work from home. Thus, an employer who has a 100% remote work policy for all employees would not need to implement the standards.
CMA will continue to provide updates as they become available, including any clarification on the applicability of these new standards to medical practices.