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Florida HB 607 - APRNs Can Now Admit, Care, Discharge Patients without Physician Oversight

Earlier this month, lawmakers in both chambers of the Florida legislature passed House Bill 607 — legislation which would allow advanced practice registered nurses, or APRNs, to single-handedly admit, care for, and discharge patients from medical facilities.  This would effectively eliminate the need for physician oversight, a costly expense for independent nurse practitioners.

Proponents of House Bill 607 believe that allowing APRNs greater autonomy, as this legislation will do, has the power to fill the gap of much-needed health care services in rural Florida communities.

Although the new law will eliminate the need for an attending physician’s approval and, as such, may arguably increase the potential for treatment mishaps, the bill provides for numerous safety measures to ensure minimal complications including clear education requirements and experience thresholds for APRNs to qualify.

Under the standards, a “qualified nurse practitioner” will have at least 3,000 hours of experience under the supervision of a physician before he/she can qualify to provide services including family medicine, general pediatrics, and general internal medicine.

House Bill 307 also includes a $5 million budget for a loan repayment program for APRNs who work in primary-care health professional shortage areas or county health departments, community health centers, migrant health centers or any other publicly funded health care programs designated by the state.

The legislation, which was signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, will go into effect on July 1, 2020.

For more information, please contact Amanda Waesch at alwaesch@bmdllc.com, or any of the Healthcare & Hospital Law Practice Attorneys at BMD.

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.

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.