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.

Changes to Physician Assistant Statutes in Florida

In the last year, there have been many changes to the scope of practice and collaboration/supervision requirements for advanced practice providers such as APRNs and physician assistants in the state of Florida. In a previous Client Alert we discussed House Bill 607, which expanded the autonomous practice of APRNs providing primary care services in Florida.

Ohio Senate Bill 49 – Ohio Expands Lien Rights for Design Professionals

Effective September 30, 2021, Ohio granted limited lien rights to design professionals, including architects, landscape architects, engineers, and surveyors. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 49 into law on July 1, 2021. This new law established a statutory right to lien commercial real estate by Ohio design professionals who, until now, could not file a lien for non-payment of professional services. Senator Vernon Sykes, a primary sponsor of Senate Bill 49, stated that the “legislation ensures that architects, engineers and other designers will get paid for their work, regardless of the outcome of their projects . . . It will support hardworking Ohioans by protecting the value of their labor . . ..”

Primary Care Practice Officially Defined in Florida for APRNs Practicing Autonomously

As many providers in Florida are aware, House Bill 607 (the “Bill”), which was passed in February of last year, gives certain APRNs in Florida the ability to practice autonomously. The only catch is that they must work in primary practice. When the Bill was initially passed, there was question as to what was exactly considered primary care, absent a definition from the Florida Board of Nursing. However, as of February 25, 2021, “primary care practice” has officially been defined.

Part II of the No Surprises Act

The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) published Part II of the No Surprises Act on September 30, 2021, which will take effect on January 1, 2022. The new guidance, in large part, focuses on the independent dispute resolution process that was briefly mentioned in Part I of the Act. In addition, there is now guidance on good faith estimate requirements, the patient-provider dispute resolution processes, and added external review provisions.

Safer Federal Workforce Task Force - Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors

The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force has issued its Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors (Guidance). Note that the Guidance applies only to “covered contracts,” which are contracts that include the clause (Clause) set forth in Sec. 2(a) of Executive Order 14042 (Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors). The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FARC) is to conduct rulemaking and take related action to ensure that the Clause is incorporated into federal contracts. Until that happens, federal contractors likely will not see the Clause in its contracts. Following is a broad summary of the Guidance.