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New State Budget Institutes Licensure Requirement for Ohio’s Hospitals

On July 1, 2021, Governor Mike DeWine signed Ohio’s final budget codified at Ohio Revised Code 3722.01 et seq., which includes a new licensing requirement for Ohio’s hospitals.

For years, Ohio was the only state in the country that did not license its hospitals. This approach will now be replaced with new, detailed requirements that will require careful review and compliance. Here are some of the highlights concerning these new changes:

When will a license be required?

All hospitals operating in the state of Ohio will be required to be licensed with the Ohio Director of Health within three years of the effective date of the new budget.  “Hospital” is defined by the Act as any institution or facility that provides inpatient medical or surgical services for a continuous period longer than 24 hours.

Some facilities will be exempt from the new licensing requirement, including hospitals operated by the federal government, nursing homes, and facilities used exclusively for hospice patients.

How do you receive a license?

License applications will begin to be considered by the Director after the Act has been effective for one year. The following will be required to be eligible for a license:

  • A completed application submitted with the accompanying fee;
  • Title XVIII certification under the “Social Security Act” or accreditation from a national accrediting organization approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; and
  • A detailed breakdown of the number of beds available in the hospital.

An issued license will be valid for three years unless it is revoked or suspended, and a license can be renewed for additional periods of three years upon expiration.

What new policies will necessitate hospital compliance?

Upon issuance of a license, further steps must be taken by the institution to maintain compliance. First, the hospital must have a governing board that is tasked with overseeing the hospital’s management and control. Second, the hospital will be required to comply with rules adopted by the Director establishing health, safety, welfare, and quality standards for licensed hospitals. These rules are required to be provided to hospitals within one year of the effective date of the budget.

The new regulations also carry steep civil penalties for hospitals that fail to comply with their terms. The Director of Health may levy a $250,000 civil penalty against the hospital and fine the institution an additional $1,000 to $10,000 for every day the hospital operates without a license. If a hospital fails to comply with any of the Director’s rules, a civil penalty between $1,000 and $250,000 may be levied. The Director may also petition for injunctive relief in the proper Court of Common Pleas if an imminent threat of harm exists at a licensed hospital; a granted injunction can only be lifted after a showing that the harmful condition identified has been removed.

To learn more about these new, detailed regulations and to discuss any required changes to your current policies and procedures, please contact BMD Government Affairs Member and Lobbyist Victoria L. Ferrise (vlferrise@bmdllc.com – (330) 374-5184).

Tax Savings Potentially on the Chopping Block under President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan

Recently, President Biden has proposed several tax law changes in his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. Outlined below, are a few of the tax savings that could be significantly changed or eliminated under Biden’s plans.

Here are the Final Candidates for Mayor of Cleveland

Earlier this year, current Cleveland Mayor, Frank Jackson, announced he would not run for re-election this fall. With no need to beat an incumbent, the Cleveland mayoral race suddenly became competitive. Thirteen individuals declared their intent to run for mayor. The City of Cleveland, however, has a difficult qualification requirement to run: 3,000 valid signatures from Cleveland residents. The deadline to file a petition to run, with the 3,000 valid signatures, had to be submitted by June 16 (yesterday).

What Happens to a Pandemic Stimulus Payment Upon Death?

On January 1, 2021, the federal government issued stimulus payments (also known as Economic Impact Payments) to American citizens – on paper. However, many of the stimulus payments were not received until several months later. Sometimes the stimulus payments did not arrive until after an individual died.

The Masks Are Back: New OSHA Regulations for Healthcare Employers

Employment Law After Hours is back with a News Break Episode. Yesterday, OSHA published new rules for healthcare facilities, including hospitals, home health employers, nursing homes, ambulance companies, and assisted living facilities. These new rules are very cumbersome, requiring mask wearing for all employees, even those that are vaccinated. The only exception is for fully vaccinated employees (2 weeks post final dose) who are in a "well-defined" area where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present.

New OSHA Guidance for Workplaces Not Covered by the Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard

On June 10, 2021, OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for occupational exposure to COVID-19, but it applies only to healthcare and healthcare support service workers. For a detailed summary of the ETS applicable to the healthcare industry, please visit https://youtu.be/vPyXmKwOzsk. All employers not subject to the ETS should review OSHA’s contemporaneously released, updated Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace. The new Guidance essentially leaves intact OSHA’s earlier guidance, but only for unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers (“at-risk” meaning vaccinated or unvaccinated workers with immunocompromising conditions). For fully vaccinated workers, OSHA defers to CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People, which advises that most fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, or local laws or individual business policies.