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CARES Act Offers Additional Funds to Healthcare Providers Offering Care, Diagnoses, or Testing Related to COVID-19

In order to help prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, a $100 billion fund, run through the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (PHSSEF), has been made available to cover non-reimbursable costs attributable to COVID-19 under the CARES Act. This fund has been designed to get money into the health care system as quickly as possible. As such, applications will be reviewed, and payments will be made, on a rolling basis. HHS has been given significant flexibility in determining how the funds are to be allocated, as opposed to operating under a mandated formula or process for awarding the funds. While the Secretary of HHS has not yet released guidance on the application process, this is expected in the near future. BMD will provide updates as soon as this information becomes available.

Who is eligible under the PHSSEF Fund?

Eligible entities include hospitals, public entities, and Medicare- or Medicaid-enrolled suppliers and providers that provide COVID-19 related diagnosis, care, or testing.

What expenses qualify for funding?

This funding is meant to cover non-reimbursable costs and expenses related to COVID-19. Examples include:

  • Building or retrofitting new ICUs
  • Increased staffing or training
  • Leasing of properties, medical supplies, and equipment, including personal protective equipment and testing supplies
  • Building of temporary structures
  • Forgone revenue from cancelled procedures

It is important to note that expenses reimbursed or obligated to be reimbursed by insurance or other mechanisms are not eligible. The Secretary of HHS has been instructed to establish a reconciliation process under which payments will have to be returned to the fund if other sources provide reimbursement for expenses.  

BMD will continue to educate health care providers as additional information and further guidance on COVID-19 become available. For questions, contact any Member of BMD's Healthcare & Hospital Law group.

HHS Announces an Additional $20 Billion In Provider Relief Grants

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced an additional $20 billion in new funding for providers on October 1, 2020. Eligible providers include those that have already received Provider Relief Fund payments as well as previously ineligible providers, such as those who began practicing in 2020, and an expanded group of behavioral health providers confronting the emergence of increased mental health and substance use issues exacerbated by the pandemic. The new Phase 3 General Distribution is designed to balance an equitable payment of 2% of annual revenue from patient care for all applicants plus an add-on payment to account for revenue losses and expenses attributable to COVID-19.

DOL Proposes New Rule Regarding Independent Contractor Status - But How Will the Election Affect Its Future?

On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new proposed rule regarding employee and independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The full text of the proposed rule is available here. The rule's drafters intend to reduce uncertainty and enhance the precision and predictability of the long-standing "economic reality" test, which currently relies on a multifactor balancing test.

Major Change to Franklin County, Ohio Eviction Process: Landlord Testimony Required

Although there is currently a nationwide temporary halt on all residential evictions through December 31, 2020 in place, the eviction process in Franklin County – which processes the highest number of evictions in the State of Ohio at approximately 18,000 a year – recently changed significantly.

UPDATE: Governor Dewine Signs HB 606 Granting Short Window of Immunity from COVID-19 Personal Injury Lawsuits

The Ohio General Assembly, in Am. Sub. H.B. No. 606, is in the final stages of passing a law that will prohibit lawsuits seeking damages from COVID-19. This includes injury, death, or loss to person or property if the lawsuits are based, in whole or in part, on the exposure to, or the transmission or contraction of the coronavirus, unless the defendant in the lawsuit acted intentionally or recklessly. In circumstances where this immunity does not apply, H.B. 606 prohibits such claims being aggregated and brought as a class action.

Revised Department of Labor FFCRA Guidance, Effective September 16, 2020

In response to attacks on the legality of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Final Rule regarding the Families First Coronavirus Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which took effect in April 2020, the Department of Labor issued new guidance on Friday, September 11th to formally address ongoing questions and concerns related to the COVID-19 legislation.