Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

Employers: Consider Important Deadlines for New H-1B Cap-Subject Foreign Worker Petitions

First-time new H-1B petitions or change of status petitions by employers can be filed for the upcoming U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) fiscal year in April 2020 as long as the individual for whom the petition is being filed is in lawful status at the time of filing, and has not engaged in any unauthorized employment since his or her last lawful admission. 

However, there are new rules or amendments that have been implemented this year.  The new H-1B visa rule (the “H-1B Rule”) amends the Department of Homeland Security’s regulations governing petitions filed on behalf of H-1B beneficiaries. Specifically included are beneficiaries who can be counted toward the 65,000 visa cap established under the Immigration and Nationality Act (the “H-1B Regular Cap”) or beneficiaries with advanced degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education who are eligible for an exemption from the regular cap (the “Advanced Degree Exemption”).  See 83 FR 62406.

The H-1B Rule requires employers seeking to file H-1B petitions subject to the H-1B Regular Cap or those eligible for the Advanced Degree Exemption, to first electronically register with USCIS.  Thus, USCIS changed both the H-1B visa filing process and the H-1B registrations for fiscal year 2021 (October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021) by first selecting registrations submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those eligible for the Advanced Degree Exemption.  USCIS will then select from the remaining registrations a sufficient number projected as needed to reach the Advanced Degree Exemption.  Changing the order in which USCIS counts these separate allocations will likely increase the number of beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. college or university to be selected for further processing under the H-1B allocations.  This is specifically beneficial for U.S. based companies who need to hire foreign students. Those who have studied in the U.S. and graduated with at least a master’s degree have a greater chance of obtaining the H-1B visa under the Advanced Degree Exemption.

The New H-1B Cap-Subject Petitions include the following important deadlines:

  • February 24, 2020: U.S. employers or their attorneys may begin creating H-1B registrant accounts
  • March 1, 2020 to March 20, 2020: H-1B cap-subject employers’ registration period
  • March 31, 2020: USCIS to notify selected registrants who hit the H-1B lottery
  • April 1, 2020: The earliest date that fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap petitions may be filed

Planning early is always better for the H-1B visa process as there have been significant changes for fiscal year 2021.  To avoid last minute issues or discuss in detail, please contact Attorney Duriya Dhinojwala at dd@bmdllc.com or call 330-253-5790. 

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.

DOL Finalizes New Rule Regarding Independent Contractor Status, But Its Future Is In Jeopardy

On January 6, 2021, the Department of Labor announced its final rule regarding independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. As described in a prior BMD client alert, this new rule was fast-tracked by the Trump administration after its proposal in September 2020. The new rule is set to take effect on March 8, 2021, and contains several key developments related to the "economic reality" test used to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee under the FLSA.