It’s Your Call – March 2017

OSHA: Repeated PPE TrainingPersonal Protective Equipment (PPE) training

Your office has annual Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) training, and as need to train new hires. Is there ever a need to train employees outside of these time frames?

Yes, there may be a need to train your staff more often. If an employer has reason to believe that any affected employee who has already been trained does not have the understanding and skill required by paragraph 1910.132 (f)(2) in the OSHA regulations, the employer shall retrain each such employee.


Circumstances where retraining is required include, but are not limited to, situations where:

(i) Changes in the workplace render previous training obsolete, or

(ii) Changes in the types of PPE to be used render previous training obsolete; or

(iii) Inadequacies in an affected employee’s knowledge or use of assigned PPE indicate that the employee has not retained the requisite understanding or skill.

Take the time to determine if retraining is needed.


HIPAA: Legal Guardians

A 20-year old, incompetent patient has just arrived for her first office visit accompanied by her biological parent. The biological parent gives you a handwritten letter stating that she is the legal guardian, but it is not a legal document. Does your office staff know how to handle this type of scenario properly?

State law and other laws determine who is authorized to act on behalf of an individual. According to Expert Law, a guardian is appointed by the court to assist with decisions related to an individual’s personal affairs when the alleged, incapacitated person is fully or partially unable to provide for his/her necessities of life. Courts may appoint a legal guardian for adults who have a physical or mental illness or disability, who are in danger of substantial harm as a result of their incapacity, and who have no other person legally authorized to take care of their personal affairs.

Covered Entities are required to verify the personal authority’s identity in accordance to the Privacy Rule 45 CFR 164.514(h).  In the above scenario, the covered entity would need a legal document from the court. When it is impractical because of an emergency circumstance or an incapacitated patient is not able to consent to allow another person to act on their behalf, a covered entity may then exercise professional judgement and share this information with a family member or other person if it would be in the best interest of the patient.

It is important to read the document carefully because the court may limit a guardian’s powers if the incapacitated person can make some decisions without assistance. More information can be found at