Inslee provides construction guidance and signs proclamations for UI rules, healthcare payments

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Gov. Jay Inslee announced new measures to combat COVID-19 today and released additional guidance for construction in his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.

The governor’s guidance on construction states:

“In general, commercial and residential construction is not authorized under the proclamation because construction is not considered to be an essential activity.

"However, an exception to the order allows for construction in the following limited circumstances:

a) Construction related to essential activities as described in the order;

b) To further a public purpose related to a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-income housing; or

c) To prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.

"To that end, it is permissible for workers who are building, construction superintendents, tradesmen, or tradeswomen, or other trades including, but not limited to, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, laborers, sheet metal, iron workers, masonry, pipe trades, fabricators, heavy equipment and crane operators, finishers, exterminators, pesticide applicators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC technicians, painting, moving and relocation services, forestry and arborists, and other service providers to provide services consistent with this guidance.

"All construction activity must meet social distancing and appropriate health and worker protection measures before proceeding.”

The guidance memo can be found here.

Healthcare parity

The governor signed a proclamation today that provides payment parity between health care providers.

In order to serve more patients, Inslee has signed a measure that would increase the parity between those health care providers who deliver in-person care and those who do it through telemedicine. Telemedicine claims must now be reimbursed at the same level as care delivered face-to-face. Telemedicine claims cannot be denied by insurance carriers.

SB 5385, passed by the legislature would do the same thing, although its implementation date was not set until January 2021. The governor’s action will allow this to go into effect immediately to help increase access to care during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rules for Unemployment Insurance

The governor also signed a proclamation today that waives work search requirements in order to receive unemployment insurance. With this action, the Washington State Employment Security Department can provide immediate assistance to those who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

“We need to do whatever we can to help those who are financially impacted by COVID-19,” Inslee said. “It would be counterproductive to require people to search for work when we are asking them to ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ to slow the spread of the virus. This is the right thing to do to get money in people’s pockets and waive this requirement for the short-term.”

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