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New Oregon Health Authority Rule Requires COVID-19 Vaccination or Testing in Healthcare Settings

On August 5, 2021, the Oregon Health Authority filed a final temporary rule requiring COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing for individuals who work in healthcare settings. This temporary rule, OAR 333-019-1010, is currently effective, but the Oregon Health Authority will not begin assessing civil penalties for failure to comply with the rule until September 30, 2021.

Below are some answers to common questions about OAR 333-019-1010 – if you have a question that is not answered below please contact Adina Matasaru:

Q:           What does the temporary rule require?

A:           An individual who works, learns, studies, assists, observes, or volunteers in a “healthcare setting” must either be fully vaccinated or be tested for COVID-19 at least weekly and employers of “healthcare providers and healthcare staff” must have a policy in place to ensure compliance with that requirement.

Q:           What is a “healthcare setting” for the purposes of this rule?

A:           A “healthcare setting” is “any place where health care, including physical or behavioral health care is delivered.”  A non-exhaustive list of “healthcare settings,” can be found at OAR 333-019-1010(2)(e)(A).

Q:           Who qualifies as “healthcare providers and healthcare staff” and must therefore be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing?

A:           “Healthcare providers and healthcare staff” means any individual who works, learns, studies, assists, observes, or volunteers in a healthcare setting “providing direct patient or resident care or who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients, residents, or infectious materials.”  A complete definition of this term can be found at OAR 333-019-1010(2)(d).

Q:           What am I required to do as an employer of healthcare providers and healthcare staff?

A:           You are required to have in place and follow a policy that will ensure that you gather proof of vaccination for vaccinated employees, requires weekly testing for any healthcare provider or healthcare staff for which vaccination status is uncertain, and sets out a process for collecting and maintaining records of weekly test results.

Q:           What do I have to do to ensure employees are vaccinated or tested weekly?

A:           Employers are required to: (1) request and obtain proof of vaccination or (2) establish a schedule for testing employees for which proof of vaccination has not been provided and maintain documentation of weekly COVID-19 test results.

Q:           How should I “maintain documentation” of weekly COVID-19 test results?

A:           Documentation of employee test results must be kept in a confidential medical file separate from other employment records in accordance with applicable federal and state laws for a period of two years.

Q:           What do I need to do to facilitate employees’ weekly tests?

A:           The temporary rule requires that you develop a schedule for weekly testing for the employee.  You should also cover the cost of the testing and compensate the employee for the time taken to be tested.

Q:           What happens if I am not able to meet OAR 333-019-1010’s requirements?

A:           Violations of this rule will result in civil penalties of $500 per day per violation.

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