Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

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FCC Adds $198 Million to Strengthen Telehealth for Rural Healthcare Providers

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has added an additional $198 million in funding to its Rural Health Care Program. These funds will be used to increase broadband services and telecommunications to bolster telehealth/telemedicine services for rural healthcare providers. Funding for rural healthcare providers was initially capped at $605 million in 2020, but the added funds will now allow the FCC to provide over $800 million to eligible providers.

Telehealth, in direct response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, has undergone a massive expansion since March. Telehealth encounters are up exponentially as patients look for a safe, socially distant, option to receive health care services and providers try to keep vital hospital space available for COVID-19 care. Technical barriers, such as the lack of a strong broadband infrastructure, has limited the wide adoption of telehealth in rural areas. The FCC aims to combat the technical limitations, as this funding will help improve technology platforms and internet connectivity, so that patients have expanded access to affordable and efficient care. 

Eligible providers for the Rural Health Care Program include:

  1. post-secondary educational institutions offering health care instruction, teaching hospitals, and medical schools;
  2. community health centers or health centers providing health care to migrants;
  3. local health departments or agencies;
  4. community mental health centers;
  5. not-for-profit hospitals;
  6. rural health clinics;
  7. skilled nursing facilities; and
  8. a combination of health care providers consisting of one or more entities falling into the first seven categories.

Please contact your primary BMD Healthcare & Hospital Law Group attorney if you have any questions regarding the Rural Health Care Program, this additional funding and how to apply for the use of funds, or any other general healthcare questions.

Supreme Court Upholds CMS Vaccination Mandate for Health Care Providers

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the COVID-19 vaccine-or-test mandate for employers with more than 100 employees (the OSHA ETS) and upheld the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees of health care providers who receive Medicaid or Medicare funding (the CMS rule).

Federal and Ohio Laws on Surprise Billing

Beginning in January 2022, Ohio providers and healthcare facilities will need to comply with both the federal No Surprises Act (“NSA”) and the state surprise billing law (HB 388), which are both designed to protect patients from unexpected medical bills.

New Year, New Laws, Old Form Documents? Exhibit A: Changes in Florida’s Real Estate Contracts

Settling into a New Year often brings renewed energy into setting and pushing new goals of building business relationships, increasing sales, and moving Letters of Intent and negotiations into final, signed agreements. It’s all too easy to grab a form document off the Internet (Google, anyone?), or to pull the last document in your files as a template for your next agreement. However, changes in the law can take effect at the beginning of the calendar year, as well as mid-year or fiscal new year, and sometimes on a random date in between. Your awareness – or lack of awareness – in changes in the law can mean the difference between keeping you and your business operating within the law or putting you at great financial and legal risk for not complying with the law. It can also result in financial and time savings or additional burden in time and costs.

Sports Betting Legal in Ohio

Ohio has made sports betting legal with Governor DeWine signing House Bill 29 into law on December 22, 2021. The Casino Control Commission will regulate sports betting in Ohio and estimates that the launch date for sports betting will be January 1, 2023.

Banking and Cannabis: Is it Legal

Marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug and is illegal under federal law. However, I am not aware of any federal banking law or regulation, or any other federal law or regulation, which explicitly makes it illegal for banks and other financial institutions to provide their traditional services to state legal cannabis businesses.