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Epic not requiring employees to return in-person as they review plans with public health officials

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VERONA (WKOW) -- Epic Systems is loosening its mandate on employees returning to work at its Verona campus after a letter from Dane County supervisors raised questions with health officials over Epic requiring employees to return to work in-person on Monday.

In at statement to 27 News, Sverre Roang, Epic’s chief administrative officer wrote, "While our intention is to return staff to campus, we are adjusting the timeframe as we work with public health officials to gain their agreement on our plan. We notified staff of these developments on Aug. 8. We look forward to working collaboratively with PHMDC."

In an email to employees, Epic officials said they will not be required to return to work in-person at their Verona campus Monday, as previously planned.

Instead, Epic stated that if employees "do not feel that their personal circumstances or concerns allow them to return to campus, they are no longer required to do so."

Employees returning to Epic's Verona campus also have a few options to make sure they feel they are staying safe:

"For those of you returning to campus, you have the choice to return gradually. You may come to campus two days in the first week, three the next, and four the following before returning to campus full time. You may also change your workday to come in earlier or later in the day than you typically would."

Epic is also seeking to clarify how to administer their return-to-work plan within the rule set by Public Health Madison & Dane County and Dane County's public health order.

"To be proactive, we’ve been in frequent communication with Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) to ensure our plans are in compliance with their orders. We consider PHMDC a valued partner, and an important source of public health information." Epic said.

As they receive more direct guidance from PHMDC, the company will announce new phase-in dates, Epic wrote in the email. As the makeup of who is on campus evolves over time, they may make changes to which groups come back when.

In a letter sent to PHMC on Saturday, Roang, asked that they, "work with us to review and provide clear advice and approval of our plans."

You can read the full letter from Epic to PHMDC here:

Dear Bonnie Koenig:

We received your letter on August 6 regarding Epic’s plan for staff to return to campus. Based on your letter, we modified our return-to-work policy so that at this time staff are not required to return. We hope that you can provide us with additional guidance on your regulations. Specifically, we request that PHMDC work collaboratively with us and confirm that our plans comply with Emergency Order #8. We are committed to bringing staff back to campus.

We at Epic care deeply about the health of our staff, their families, the broader Dane County community, and the hundreds of millions of patients cared for using our software. We’ve worked tirelessly over recent months to ensure we provide a safe environment that enables our staff to do critical healthcare and public health work. We are confident that we have been and will continue to be in compliance with PHMDC’s Emergency Order #8.

We’ve been working with health experts to review our campus health and safety plans, including Dr. Stephen Ostroff, who previously served as the Acting Health Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and return-to-work experts from Cleveland Clinic. We have also hired Dr. Nicky Quick, the former top public health official of Orange County, as our internal public health expert.

It is in the best interest of public health, Epic staff, and our community that Epic and PHMDC work collaboratively on our plan. We ask that you work with us to review and provide clear advice and approval of our plans. We, together, have a shared responsibility to protect staff health and the greater public health in the region.

Business across the country are reopening. In working together, we believe we can help establish a model for similar businesses of how to successfully bring people back to work in a way that is in the best interest of public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sincerely,
Sverre Roang

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