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Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

Congress Passes Another Round of Coronavirus Relief for Small Businesses

Today President Trump signed into law another round of coronavirus relief aimed at helping small businesses during this public health emergency. The bill contains a total of $484 billion in additional aid. The majority of funds in this bill are dedicated to replenishing the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), which gives small businesses loans to cover payroll costs that could be forgiven if specific requirements are followed. Congress initially funded the PPP in March with $350 billion, but this amount was exhausted as of April 16, 2020.

Most notably, the new legislation adds $310 billion to the PPP. Of these funds, $2.1 billion are earmarked for salaries and expenses to administer programs related to the coronavirus, $50 billion will go towards the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) program, and $10 billion is set aside for Emergency EIDL grants/advances.

Further, the bill provides $100 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund. These funds include $75 billion to reimburse health care providers for health care related expenses (e.g., building/construction of temporary structures, leasing of properties, medical supplies, equipment, increased workforce and training, and surge capacity) or lost revenues that are attributable to the coronavirus. This relief is available for Medicare/Medicaid enrolled providers, including physician practices and hospitals that are diagnosing, treating, and caring for actual/potential coronavirus patients and the method of dispersal will be announced soon. The other $25 billion is set for expenses to research, develop, and manufacture coronavirus tests and increase the country’s testing capacity. Increased testing dollars are spread amongst the states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, Community Health Centers, Rural Health Centers, and testing for the uninsured.

Please contact a BMD attorney should you have any additional questions regarding this new economic stimulus bill, questions on how to take advantage or apply for these programs, or general questions related to the coronavirus and its economic impact.

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.