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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.

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.