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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.

Explosive Growth in Pot of Gold Opportunity for Bank (and Other) Cannabis Lenders Driving Erosion of the Barriers

Our original article on bank lending to the cannabis industry anticipated that the convergence of interest between banks and the cannabis industry would draw more and larger banks to the industry. Banks were awash in liquidity with limited deployment options, while bankable cannabis businesses had rapidly growing needs for more and lower cost credit. Since then, the pot of gold opportunity for banks to lend into the cannabis industry has grown exponentially due to a combination of market constraints on equity causing a dramatic shift to debt and the ever-increasing capital needs of one of the country’s fastest growing industries. At the same time, hurdles to entry of new banks are being systematically cleared as the yellow brick road to the cannabis industry’s access to the financial markets is being paved, brick by brick, by the progressively increasing number and size of banks that are now entering the market.

2021 EEOC Charge Statistics: Retaliation & Impact of Remote Work

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its detailed information on workplace discrimination charges it received in 2021. Unsurprisingly, for the second year in a row, the total number of charges decreased as COVID-19 either shut down workplaces or disconnected employees from each other. In 2021, the agency received a total of approximately 61,000 workplace discrimination charges - the fewest in 25 years by a wide margin. For reference, the agency received over 67,000 charges in 2020, and averaged almost 90,000 charges per year over the previous 10 years.

Ohio’s Managed Care Overhaul Delayed – New Implementation Timeline

At the direction of Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) launched the Medicaid Managed Care Procurement process in 2019. ODM’s stated vision for the procurement was to focus on people and not just the business of managed care. This is the first structural change to Ohio’s managed care system since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) approval of Ohio’s Medicaid program in 2005. Initially, all of the new managed care programs were supposed to be implemented starting on July 1, 2022. However, ODM Director Maureen Corcoran recently confirmed that this date will be pushed back for several managed care-related programs.

Laboratory Specimen Collection Arrangements with Contract Hospitals - OIG Advisory Opinion 22-09

On April 28, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) published an Advisory Opinion[1] in which it evaluated a proposed arrangement where a network of clinical laboratories (the “Requestor”) would compensate hospitals (each a “Contract Hospital”) for specimen collection, processing, and handling services (“Collection Services”) for laboratory tests furnished by the Requestor (the “Proposed Arrangement”). The OIG concluded that the Proposed Arrangement would generate prohibited remuneration under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) if the requisite intent were present. This is due to both the possibility that the proposed per-patient-encounter fee would be used to induce or reward referrals to Requestor and the associated risk of improperly steering patients to Requestor.

Property Owner Protection from Tax Valuation Challenges

New legislation provides significant new protections for commercial property owners against challenges to valuation primarily by local school boards and prohibiting side agreements to avoid tax valuation changes. The Ohio Legislature has approved House Bill 126 which will go into effect July 2022 but will effectively apply to the 2023 tax valuation year.