ALERT! Expedited EADs for Healthcare Workers

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USCIS issued new guidance today on expedited EADs for healthcare workers.  Effective immediately, healthcare workers with pending Employment Authorization Document (EAD) renewal applications where the EAD expires in 30 days or less OR has already expired, may request expedited processing of the EAD application (Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization).  The request for expedited processing is subject to the discretion of USCIS and must be accompanied by evidence of the applicant’s profession or current employment as a qualifying healthcare worker.  Healthcare workers eligible for expedited EAD processing consideration are listed in the DHS advisory memorandum.

Per the advisory memorandum, qualifying healthcare workers include:

  • Workers, including laboratory personnel, that perform critical clinical, biomedical and other research, development, and testing needed for COVID-19 or other diseases.
  • Healthcare providers including, but not limited to, physicians (MD/DO/DPM); dentists; psychologists; mid- level practitioners; nurses; emergency medical services personnel, assistants and aids; infection control and quality assurance personnel; phlebotomists; pharmacists; physical, respiratory, speech and occupational therapists and assistants; social workers; optometrists; speech pathologists; chiropractors; diagnostic and therapeutic technicians; and radiology technologists.
  • Workers required for effective clinical, command, infrastructure, support service, administrative, security, and intelligence operations across the direct patient care and full healthcare and public health spectrum. Personnel examples may include, but are not limited, to accounting, administrative, admitting and discharge, engineering, accrediting, certification, licensing, credentialing, epidemiological, source plasma and blood donation, food service, environmental services, housekeeping, medical records, information technology and operational technology, nutritionists, sanitarians, etc.
    • Emergency medical services workers including clinical interns.
    • Prehospital workers included but not limited to urgent care workers.
    • Inpatient & hospital workers (e.g. hospitals, critical access hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities including skilled nursing facilities, inpatient hospice, ambulatory surgical centers, etc.).
    • Outpatient care workers (e.g. end-stage-renal disease practitioners and staff, Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics, community mental health clinics, organ transplant/procurement centers, and other ambulatory care settings/providers, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities, etc.).
    • Home care workers (e.g. home health care, at-home hospice, home dialysis, home infusion, etc.). o Workers at Long-term care facilities, residential and community-based providers (e.g. Programs ofAll-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities, Religious Nonmedical Health Care Institutions, etc.).
    • Workplace safety workers (i.e., workers who anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and control workplace conditions that may cause workers’ illness or injury).
  • Workers needed to support transportation to and from healthcare facility and provider appointments.
  • Workers needed to provide laundry services, food services, reprocessing of medical equipment, and waste management.
  • Workers that manage health plans, billing, and health information and who cannot work remotely.
  • Workers performing cybersecurity functions at healthcare and public health facilities and who cannot work remotely.
  • Workers performing security, incident management, and emergency operations functions at or on behalf of healthcare entities including healthcare coalitions, who cannot practically work remotely.
  • Vendors and suppliers (e.g. imaging, pharmacy, oxygen services, durable medical equipment, etc.).
  • Workers at manufacturers (including biotechnology companies and those companies that have shifted production to medical supplies), materials and parts suppliers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, printers, packagers, distributors of medical products and equipment (including third party logistics providers, and those who test and repair), personal protective equipment (PPE), isolation barriers, medical gases, pharmaceuticals (including materials used in radioactive drugs), dietary supplements, commercial health products, blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies (including dispensers), sanitary goods, personal care products, pest control products, and tissue and paper towel products.
  • Donors of blood, bone marrow, blood stem cell, or plasma, and the workers of the organizations that operate and manage related activities.
  • Pharmacy staff, including workers necessary to maintain uninterrupted prescription, and other workers for pharmacy operations.
  • Workers and materials (e.g., laboratory supplies) needed to conduct bloodspot and point of care (i.e., hearing and critical congenital heart disease) newborn screening as well as workers and materials need for confirmatory diagnostic testing and initiation of treatment.
  • Home health workers (e.g., nursing, respiratory therapists, health aides) who need to go into the homes of individuals with chronic, complex conditions and/or disabilities to deliver nursing and/or daily living care.
  • Workers in retail facilities specializing in medical good and supplies.
  • Public health and environmental health workers, such as:
    • Workers specializing in environmental health that focus on implementing environmental controls, sanitary and infection control interventions, healthcare facility safety and emergency preparedness planning, engineered work practices, and developing guidance and protocols for appropriate PPE to prevent COVID-19 disease transmission.
    • Public health/community health workers (including call center workers) who conduct community- based public health functions, conducting epidemiologic surveillance and compiling, analyzing, and communicating public health information, who cannot work remotely.
  • Human services providers, especially for at risk populations such as: oHome delivered meal providers for older adults, people with disabilities, and others with chronic health conditions.
    • Home-maker services for frail, homebound, older adults.
    • Personal assistance services providers to support activities of daily living for older adults, people with disabilities, and others with chronic health conditions who live independently in the community with supports and services.
    • Home health providers who deliver health care services for older adults, people with disabilities, and others with chronic health conditions who live independently in the community with supports and services.
    • Workers who provide human services, including but not limited to social workers, nutritionists, case managers or case workers, crisis counselors, foster care case managers, adult protective services personnel, child protective personnel, domestic violence counselors, human trafficking prevention and recovery personnel, behavior specialists, substance abuse-related counselors, and peer support counselors.
  • Government entities, and contractors that work in support of local, state, federal, tribal, and territorial public health and medical mission sets, including but not limited to supporting access to healthcare and associated payment functions, conducting public health functions, providing medical care, supporting emergency management, or other services necessary for supporting the COVID-19 response.
  • Workers for providers and services supporting effective telehealth.
  • Mortuary service providers, such as:
    • Workers performing mortuary funeral, cremation, burial, cemetery, and related services, including funeral homes, crematoriums, cemetery workers, and coffin makers.
    • Workers who coordinate with other organizations to ensure the proper recovery, handling, identification, transportation, tracking, storage, and disposal of human remains and personal effects; certify cause of death; and facilitate access to mental and behavioral health services to the family members, responders, and survivors of an incident.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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