Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

CLIENT ALERT: Update on Discrimination

The “#metoo” presence and the recent Kavanaugh confirmation hearings have brought sexual discrimination issues to the forefront of the American mind.  Always an incendiary and confusing topic, it also includes various permutations of issues involving sex, sex stereotyping, sexual orientation, and  transgender  situations.  Employment issues abound, including proper use of restrooms and disciplinary matters. “LBGTQ” are more than mere letters strung together.

Cuyahoga County passed an ordinance recently which applies to all Cuyahoga County cities and townships, making it unlawful for any business to discriminate against any person based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  A Commission on Human Rights was designated to investigate and rule on complaints.

Similarly, the City of Akron passed an ordinance expanding equal employment for employees working in the city.  Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees located in the city, as well as businesses that take contracts from the City but are located elsewhere.  Employers with 4 or more individuals are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of the “traditional” bases (such as race, color, religion, etc.), but also on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.  The ordinance also created the Akron Civil Rights Commission to receive and investigate complaints.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has taken the position that discrimination on the basis of sex includes transgender, sexual identity, and sexual orientation.  The Ohio Civil Rights Commission is the state investigative arm that similarly investigates such complaints (which they often term as a “Charge”).

Ohio is located in the Federal Sixth Circuit.  The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently decided a case involving transgender issues, and also discussed whether a religious belief may play a part in an employer’s decision to terminate an employee.  That case is now on appeal to the United States Supreme Court and, no matter how the Supreme Court rules (and whether or not the Court decides to take the case for review), employer-employee relations will be affected.

Given the currently charged atmosphere, employers should consider a review of their employment practices and handbooks.  In addition, management training should be considered to stay ahead of the trends in this important area. 

If you would like more information, please contact Richard L. Williger at (330) 253-3770 or rlwilliger@bmdllc.com.

 

Investment Training for the Second and Third Generations

Consider this scenario. Mom and Dad started the business from the ground up. Over the decades it has expanded into a money-making machine. They are able to sell the business and it results in a multimillion-dollar payday for their labors. The excess money has allowed Mom and Dad to invest with various financial advising firms, several fund management groups, and directly with new startups and joint ventures. Their experience has made them savvy investors, with a detailed understanding of how much to invest, when, and where. They cannot justify formation of a full family office with dedicated investors to manage the funds, but Mom and Dad have set up a trust fund for the children to allow these investments to continue to grow over the years. Eventually, Mom and Dad pass. Their children enjoy the fruits of their labors, and, by the time the grandchildren are adults, Mom and Dad's savvy investments are gone.

Provider Relief Funds – Continued Confusion Regarding Reporting Requirements and Lost Revenues

In Fall 2020, HHS issued multiple rounds of guidance and FAQs regarding the reporting requirements for the Provider Relief Funds, the most recently published notice being November 2, 2020 and December 11, 2020. Specifically, the reporting portal for the use of the funds in 2020 was scheduled to open on January 15, 2021. Although there was much speculation as to whether this would occur. And, as of the date of this article, the portal was not opened.

Ohio S.B. 310 Loosens Practice Barrier for Advanced Practice Providers

S.B. 310, signed by Ohio Governor DeWine and effective from December 29, 2020 until May 1, 2021, provides flexibility regarding the regulatorily mandated supervision and collaboration agreements for physician assistants, certified nurse-midwives, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse practitioners working in a hospital or other health care facility. Originally drafted as a bill to distribute federal COVID funding to local subdivisions, the healthcare related provisions were added to help relieve some of the stresses hospitals and other healthcare facilities are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

HHS Issues Opinion Regarding Illegal Attempts by Drug Manufacturers to Deny 340B Discounts under Contract Pharmacy Arrangements

The federal 340B discount drug program is a safety net for many federally qualified health centers, disproportionate share hospitals, and other covered entities. This program allows these providers to obtain discount pricing on drugs which in turn allows the providers to better serve their patient populations and provide their patients with access to vital health care services. Over the years, the 340B program has undergone intense scrutiny, particularly by drug manufacturers who are required by federal law to provide the discounted pricing.

S.B. 263 Protects 340B Covered Entities from Predatory Practices in Ohio

Just before the end of calendar year 2020 and at the end of its two-year legislative session, the Ohio General Assembly passed Senate Bill 263, which prohibits insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers (“PBMs”) from imposing on 340B Covered Entities discriminatory pricing and other contract terms. This is a win for safety net providers and the people they serve, as 340B savings are crucial to their ability to provide high quality, affordable programs and services to patients.