Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

IRS Responds - Economic Impact Payments Do Not Belong to Nursing Homes or Care Facilities

In response to the concerns that some nursing homes and care facilities have been taking patients' economic impact payments (“EIP”) and claiming the EIP belongs to the facility, the IRS issued a reminder that the EIP does not belong to a nursing home or care facility even if that facility receives the individual’s payments, either directly or indirectly. The EIP does not count as income or a resource in determining an individual’s eligibility for Medicaid or other federal programs for a period of 12 months from when the EIP is received. What this means: an individual’s EIP does not have to be turned over by the benefit recipient.

To support the stance that the EIP do not count as income, the IRS stated that the EIP are considered an advance refund for an individual’s 2020 taxes. Therefore, it is considered a tax return for benefit purposes. Further, the IRS points to the instructions for Form 1040 which states, “any refund you receive can't be counted as income when determining if you or anyone else is eligible for benefits or assistance, or how much you or anyone else can receive, under any federal program or under any state or local program financed in whole or in part with federal funds. These programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps). In addition, when determining eligibility, the refund can't be counted as a resource for at least 12 months after you receive it.”

The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) released FAQs addressing exactly how the EIP should be handled. The SSA specifically states that the EIP belong to the beneficiary and are not a Social Security or SSI benefit. A representative payee is only responsible for managing Social Security or SSI benefits. Since an EIP is not a Social Security or SSI benefit, the representative payee should discuss the EIP with the beneficiary and allow the beneficiary to determine how it should be used. If the beneficiary determines he/she wants to use it independently, the representative payee should provide the EIP to the beneficiary. If the beneficiary asks the representative payee for assistance in how to use the EIP, the representative payee can provide that assistance outside of his/her representative payee role.

Although SSA does not have the authority to investigate or determine whether the EIP was misused, if SSA receives an allegation that the EIP was not used on behalf of the beneficiary, the SSA may decide to open an investigation into the possible misuse of the beneficiary’s Social Security or SSI benefit payments. The SSA may also remove the representative payee as no longer suitable and appoint a new representative payee.

If you need assistance in determining whether, as a representative payee, the beneficiary’s EIP was handled correctly or suspect that your loved one’s EIP was misused, please contact BMD Tax Law Attorney Tracy Albanese at tlalbanese@bmdllc.com or (330) 253-9195.

Ohio House Passes Bill 679 Establishing & Modifying Telehealth Service Requirements

In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Ohio Department of Health, Department of Medicaid, and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services issued emergency rules expanding telehealth services and increasing access to healthcare while the public was under a stay-at-home order. On June 10, 2020, the Ohio House of Representatives favorably (91 votes for and 3 votes against) passed House Bill 679 (“HB 679”), establishing new and modifying existing requirements regarding the provision of telehealth services in Ohio. This bill essentially turns the various administrative emergency rules into law and will fundamentally change the way healthcare is delivered in the state.

Ohio House Passes Bill 388 Including Out-of-Network Reimbursement Requirements

On May 20, 2020, the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 388, which would enact five new Ohio Revised Code sections regarding out-of-network care and reimbursement.

Ohio Medicaid Starts Paying Pharmacists for COVID-19 Testing & Pilots Focus on Direct Care from Pharmacists

Two significant announcements were made by Ohio’s Department of Medicaid recently. Both announcements provide greater access to healthcare services for Medicaid beneficiaries in Ohio and by utilizing the expertise of pharmacists and providing reimbursement for their services related to COVID-19 testing.

Employer COVID Toolkit

As employees come back to work and employers operate “mid-COVID” in the “new normal,” employers must update their Employee Handbook and related employment policies. BMD has put together an Employer COVID Toolkit to supplement an employer’s existing Employee Handbook and policies to ensure compliance with the Department of Labor guidance, OSHA, FFCRA, the CARES Act and state law. Below is a description of policies and their purpose.

SBA Releases New Frequently Asked Question (No. 49) - Maturity Dates for PPP Loans

On June 25, 2020 the SBA released a new Frequently Asked Question (No. 49) concerning the maturity dates for PPP Loans as modified by the recently passed Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. All PPP Loans received on or after June 5, 2020, will have a five-year maturity. Any PPP Loan received before June 5, 2020, has a two-year maturity, unless the borrower and lender mutually agree to extend the term of the loan to five years. Businesses should address the maturity issue with their SBA lender and discuss any available change to the loan maturity date.