Is Your Company Prepared for a Medical Emergency? Create an Emergency Response Team.
Did you know, your business—whether based in an office or at a construction site—must comply with certain federal requirements for first aid and emergency medical treatment? What many people don’t realize is that having a first aid kit and calling 9-1-1 are not enough. You likely need an Emergency Response Team for your company.
Here’s why: OSHA requires that, in general, “an employer must ensure prompt first aid treatment for injured employees, either by providing for the availability of a trained first aid provider at the worksite, or by ensuring that emergency treatment services are within reasonable proximity of the worksite.” For activities where more serious accidents can occur, like construction or manufacturing, OSHA interprets reasonable proximity as having emergency medical services available within three to four minutes if there is no trained employee onsite to render first aid.
While that timing requirement applies to worksites where falls, suffocation, electrocution, or amputation are possible, it can and should be applied to office environments, too. The national average response time for ambulances is eight to 10 minutes, but in the event of a cardiac arrest, biological death begins at four to six minutes, which makes employee first aid and CPR training vital.
Here at PSA, we believe our employees have a fundamental obligation to protect one another. To that end, we established an Emergency Response Team (ERT) about ten years ago. The effort was initially comprised of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training. But over the years, we’ve expanded our emergency response team training to include basic first aid, emergency evacuation, and shelter-in-place training. Last year, we partnered with our local police precinct to conduct a vulnerability assessment of our facility and provide recommendations for improvement and an active shooter training to our entire population. Most recently, we have further expanded our knowledge with a Stop the Bleed training to equip and empower our ERT to help in a bleeding emergency.
These are just a few examples of how PSA is protecting our employees. If you’d like to follow our model, here are some guidelines for setting up your own ERT:
Assess your exposures. Where might injuries or accidents at your business occur? If you have forklifts or heavy machinery, you’ll need to consider the types of injuries that can happen in the event of an accident. In an office, you should account for certain medical emergencies—like cardiac arrest, diabetic emergency, seizures, and anaphylactic reactions—which can happen anywhere.
Build your team. The ERT should be made up of volunteers who want to participate, work well under pressure, and can handle the sight of blood. It’s also a good idea to check if you have any employees with volunteer EMT or firefighter experience. You’ll want to consider where each team member is located, particularly if your business has a large or scattered footprint. And, if your company works in shifts, you’ll need coverage for all business hours.
Train your team. The minimum training your team should complete includes first aid, CPR, AED, fire extinguisher, evacuation, active shooter, and Stop the Bleed. There are many resources available to provide emergency response team trainings, including local law enforcement in certain counties, your insurance company, and broker and third-party consultants. The American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and the National Safety Council also offer quality, nationally-recognized training programs in these areas.
Get the right supplies. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) provides minimum requirements for a workplace first aid kit. On top of having a first aid kit, it’s smart to have multiple “go bags” assembled and stored both on and off site (for example, in an employee’s car). For a list of key items to include in your go bag, check out this free, downloadable list.
Communicate. Let your workforce know who is on the ERT and how to contact the team in the event of an emergency.
Maintain the team. Don’t just do a training once and think you’re set forever. Keep your Emergency Response Team in the workplace trained with regular drills and classes, and recruit fresh volunteers periodically. In this spirit, PSA recently invested in a new, Stop the Bleed training for our team and conducted a fire extinguisher and AED refresher course. Our team also conducted an active shooter table-top drill with the PSA leadership team and our ERT, in which a scenario customized to PSA was presented by the Baltimore County Police Department, and our response plan effectiveness was evaluated. They analyzed any gaps in our response and suggested improvement efforts.
The PSA ERT has been a valuable asset to our company. They’ve responded to employees who’ve experienced seizures, heart attacks, strokes, low blood sugar, and high blood pressure. And, they are prepared to respond to any emergencies affecting our clients and the general public that may be present at PSA’s office. Recently, we also completed a fire drill in which the main stairwell exits were blocked to simulate the inability to access them. Due to our frequent drills, effective communication, and our dedicated, well-trained team, we were able to evacuate 160 people from our fifth floor office building to the assembly point in under four minutes notwithstanding.
At PSA, the health and well-being of our employees is a top priority. If you are looking to improve safety at your company, we can provide you with safety training and even help you build an Emergency Response Team. Please feel free to contact Steve Pomponi at firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Sines at email@example.com.
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Stop the Stigma. Prevent Abuse with Risk Management
Did you know that one in four girls and one in six boys will experience some type of physical, sexual, or mental abuse, and that 80% of abuse cases go unreported? The expansion of the #MeToo movement has brought to light the severity and frequency of abuse scenarios, and has also aided in breaking down some of the barriers and stigma surrounding reporting abuse. Because of this, insurance companies are seeing a large volume of abuse claims where they never did before. This huge increase in abuse claims volume will result in more difficulty securing coverage for certain industries as well as more expensive policies. This begs the question: How do we prevent abuse and reduce our exposure?
PSA recently partnered with Selective, one of our carrier partners, to provide a training around risk management solutions and abuse prevention for those who work with vulnerable populations. Sadly, some of the places where abuse occurs most are in environments such as schools, daycares, eldercare, social service settings, religious organizations, and shelters, where children, the elderly, or the disabled can be easily targeted. Having an effective risk management plan to prevent abuse is imperative to protect your vulnerable population, your employees, and your organization.
In order to effectively protect your population, preventing abuse needs to be a cultural commitment—not something you’re complacent about until it’s too late or something you skimp on and cover only the minimum state requirements. When it comes to an effective risk management strategy to prevent abuse, there are four key areas for success.
- Clearly define boundaries that state what types of contact and behavior are acceptable and unacceptable. This outlines the behaviors that constitute abuse and communicate a culture of zero-tolerance.
- Distribute, review, and require signatures on a code of conduct document for your employees.
- Include a written plan for responding to incidents and false allegations.
Screening and selection
- Require background checks for all prospective employees as well as contractors and volunteers who are repeatedly given access to your population. Re-screen your employees and volunteers who have regular and repeated contact with your vulnerable population at least every three years, and make sure that you are checking national records and not just your state.
- Ask for professional AND personal references during the interview process. Professional references can only legally tell you so much. You may receive more information from a personal reference, which could create red flags early on in the process.
- Walking the walk is important. Your policies don’t matter if no one knows them. Provide training videos and seminars around topics such as how to recognize and prevent abuse.
- Create a culture where employees are encouraged to report any suspicious actions. If you see something, say something. If an incident occurs and claim is made and it’s found that someone at your organization knew but didn’t report, your organization is liable. The more red flags reported immediately, the less large incidents you’ll encounter in the long run.
Documentation and monitoring
- Put policies in place to outlaw one-on-one scenarios. If you work in an industry where one-on-one care is unavoidable, put parameters in place such as observation windows, open door policies, and security cameras. Also, make sure you have a policy to go along with the need for one-on-one contact in your organization.
- Monitor high risk activities, such as bathroom breaks, transportation, and overnight events. Unsupervised, these activities give predators the three things they need to act: access to your population, privacy with them, and control over them.
In addition to these prevention strategies, it’s vital to make sure you have ample and appropriate insurance coverage. Firstly, you need to understand the coverage that you have. Does your policy only cover sexual abuse? What about physical or mental abuse claims? If you work with vulnerable populations, you’ll want to ensure that you have separate claims limits for abuse rather than lumping that coverage and limit in with your general liability coverage.
The importance of working with a trusted broker advisor who can connect you with carriers providing comprehensive coverage and training resources cannot be overstated. If you have questions about your abuse prevention risk management program or you’d like to learn more about strategies and resources available, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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HSA Eligibility & Contributions Reminders (Benefit Minute)
Individuals enrolled in a qualified high deductible health plan (QHDHP) are generally eligible to contribute to a health savings account (HSA) on a tax favored basis up to limits established by the IRS. However, certain situations may adversely impact the ability to make an HSA contribution and/or impact the amount that may be contributed. These situations are discussed below.
General Eligibility & Contribution Requirements
To be eligible to establish or contribute to an HSA, an individual must be covered under a QHDHP, not have other disqualifying health coverage, and not be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. For 2019, the IRS has set the annual HSA contribution limits to $3,500 for single coverage and $7,000 for family coverage. Contribution limits are generally determined monthly (1/12th for each month of QHDHP coverage). Contributions attributable to a tax year can be made up to the federal tax filing due date (without extension).
Other Health Coverage
The following types of other health coverage will make an individual ineligible to contribute to an HSA:
General purpose health care flexible spending account (HCFSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) – Enrollment in a HCFSA or HRA that can be used to reimburse medical expenses that are subject to the QHDHP deductible will disqualify an individual from HSA eligibility for the full HCFSA or HRA plan year. This includes a HCFSA or HRA sponsored by another employer (e.g. a spouse’s employer). An employer may offer several types of HSA-compatible HCFSAs or HRAs, including a limited purpose option which only reimburses preventive care, dental and vision expenses, a post-deductible option which only reimburses medical expenses once the minimum QHDHP deductible is met, or a combination of both.
If a general purpose HCFSA has adopted the 2½ month grace period, the individual remains ineligible during the grace period unless the HCFSA balance was exhausted prior to the end of the plan year. If the carryover provision was adopted, the individual remains ineligible for the entire plan year if there is a carryover balance, unless the individual agrees to waive the carryover prior to the end of the plan year or the carryover is converted to an HSA-compatible HCFSA (if the plan document so allows).
Standalone telemedicine – When telemedicine benefits that are free or subject to a co-payment are available to individuals who are enrolled in a QHDHP, the telemedicine is other health coverage that disqualifies an individual from HSA eligibility. To solve this HSA eligibility issue, participants should be required to pay the fair market value of the telemedicine services at least until the QHDHP minimum deductible is met. This will always be the case when the telemedicine services are embedded in the QHDHP.
Enrollment in Medicare – Beginning with the first month an individual is enrolled in Medicare, including Part A, HSA eligibility is lost, so an individual can no longer make contributions. An individual who has not applied for Social Security retirement benefits may delay Medicare enrollment beyond age 65 to maintain HSA eligibility. However, subsequent enrollment is often backdated by as much as 6 months, and contributions attributable to the period of retroactive enrollment may be considered excess contributions that have to be withdrawn and taxed.
If an individual has QHDHP coverage that includes a spouse who is not enrolled in Medicare, one possible solution is for the spouse to establish an HSA or increase contributions to an existing HSA up to the permitted IRS limit.
An individual enrolled in a QHDHP who is eligible to contribute to an HSA and who is age 55 or older at the end of the tax year may contribute an additional $1,000. This amount is pro-rated if the individual was not covered by the QHDHP for all 12 months of the calendar year (unless the last-month rule described below applies). If an individual has QHDHP coverage that includes a spouse and the spouse is age 55 or older, the spouse is also entitled to a catch-up contribution as long as the spouse has their own HSA.
In general, the HSA contribution limit is determined on a month-by-month basis, based on enrollment in a QHDHP (without other disqualifying health coverage) on the first day of the month. However, under the last-month rule, an eligible individual enrolled in a QHDHP on the first day of the last month of the tax year (generally December 1) is treated as having QHDHP coverage for the entire year and may contribute the full annual contribution limit for that year.
When contributions are made based on the last-month rule, the individual must remain an eligible individual for the 13-month period that begins on the first day of the last month of the current tax year and ends on the last day of the last month of the next tax year. If an individual fails to remain eligible during this entire period, for reasons other than death or disability, the portion of the contributions that would not have been made in the prior year without application of the last-month rule become taxable and are also subject to a 10% additional tax.
Contribution Limit for Spouses and Other Individuals
An HSA is an individually owned account; however in certain cases, each spouse who is otherwise eligible may establish their own HSA. If either spouse has family coverage under the QHDHP, both spouses are treated as having family coverage for HSA purposes; therefore, the IRS contribution limit for family coverage is split between them. The spouses may determine how the limit will be divided between them. In addition, as stated above each spouse is also separately entitled to the catch-up contribution at age 55.
An individual covered under a QHDHP as an enrolled dependent who is not a tax dependent (e.g. a grown child or domestic partner) may establish their own HSA and contribute up to the IRS contribution limit for family coverage since the underlying QHDHP coverage is subject to the family deductible.
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Press Release: Leadership Updates
September, 25, 2019, Hunt Valley, MD — PSA is excited to announce the completion of a plan our leadership team has been working on for over a year. It is a vision designed to ensure an even better experience for our client partners.
After much thought and introspection, Chip Lewis has decided to adjust his role from CEO to Chairman to focus on originating new client relationships, developing partnerships, sourcing acquisitions, and connecting with our people.
Together, the leadership team has appointed Ray Sweet as CEO. Ray Sweet has been at the center of every major decision we have made and has built an extraordinary reputation in our business community. He’s demonstrated a strategic capacity while in his role as PSA’s CFO/COO, and brings with him many years of head executive experience, acting as the CEO of both national and international businesses.
The PSA leadership team has always been, and remains, committed to doing what’s right for the future of our people and our clients. With that, PSA has realigned some internal leadership roles.
Employee Benefits Practice
Ken Huber has been appointed Executive Vice President, Employee Benefits. This role will allow Ken to develop innovative new solutions in the fast moving benefits space, meet with clients, and connect with business leaders.
Randall Singer has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Employee Benefits, which includes our HR Consulting Practice, the Client Management Team, Key Accounts, and Large Group Consulting. These changes better align our consulting staff under one reporting structure, leading to better collaboration and consistency.
Kaci Byers has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Employee Benefits, and will oversee the Select Business Unit, Benefit Analyst staff, Client Advocates, Employee Benefits Systems, and the budgeting process and overall operational efficiencies in Employee Benefits.
Property & Casualty Practice
Frank Giachini has been appointed Executive Vice President, Property & Casualty (P&C). We continue to develop our P&C team approach by consolidating Risk Placement (Marketing) and Account Management into the same teams to better serve the needs of our clients.
Craig English continues to work closely with the leadership team to transition management of the P&C operation. Craig continues to advise and serve his long standing clients and serve as a key strategist and relationship point to our valued carriers.
Sales & Marketing
Justin Hoffman has been appointed Executive Vice President, Business Development and Chief Marketing Officer.
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