Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

Relief for Ohio Under the Federal American Rescue Plan Act

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (the “Act”) — a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package — a significant portion of which will be directed to the State of Ohio to support economic recovery, as outlined below.

Generally, the Act seeks to provide state and local governments with the resources needed to stabilize their economies following the shutdowns and COVID-19-related deficits incurred in 2020. As such, the Act directs these authorities to fund businesses, programs, and support infrastructure projects and related economic development.

Specifically, a total of $11.2 billion has been allocated to Ohio from the Act, half of which will go directly to the state government with the balance to be divided among Ohio’s municipalities.

The five (5) largest benefactors of the funds include the following counties:

  • Franklin County: $255,380,000
  • Cuyahoga County: $239,530,000
  • Hamilton County: $158,540,000
  • Summit County: $104,930,000
  • Montgomery County: $103,120,000

The stimuli do not, however, come without caveats as to collection requirements and spending boundaries.

Each state or territory intending to collect their share of the funds is required to certify to the U.S. Treasury that it will use any payment in compliance with the use of fund restrictions, discussed below, before any distribution is made. Once the U.S. Treasury receives this certification, the department must make payment to the certifying entity within 60 days.

Counties, metropolitan cities and states as agents for non-entitlement units of local government will not, however, be required to complete certifications, and will instead receive funds in tranches, with the first tranche to be paid within 60 days of the American Rescue Plan becoming law, and the second tranche to be paid at least 12 months after the date on which the county, metropolitan city or state as an agent for non-entitlement unit of local government received its first payment.

The Act leaves broad authority to the state and local governments as to how the money may be directed with the main caveat requiring the ultimate support of COVID-19 economic recovery (e.g., vaccine distribution and other public health efforts, support for low-income citizens, small business relief, and aid to public education). Notably, there is a deadline to use the funds by each applicable jurisdiction — December 31, 2024.

For any questions on the American Rescue Plan Act, or for more information on allocations across the State of Ohio, please contact BMD Government Affairs Law Member Victoria Ferrise at 330.374.5184 or vlferrise@bmdllc.com.

COVID, Privacy and More! New Challenges for Physicians in 2021

While hopefully we are coming out of the pandemic, the legal repercussions related to legislative initiatives and other actions during that time continue to apply to businesses in general and healthcare practices. It is a helpful reminder that practices make certain that they maintain accurate records in order to satisfy the reporting requirements under the various COVID-related bills and protect yourself from future employment claims.

Banking and Cannabis: Bank Lending, The Next Frontier

A fortuitous combination of developments and circumstances present the banking and cannabis industries a large opportunity to enhance each of their respective bottom lines: conventional bank lending, payment processing, treasury management and other services, and bank administered SBA and revenue bond financing to cannabis businesses.

EKRA Updates: COVID-19 Testing, Employment Agreements, and More

Ever since the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (“EKRA”) was passed by Congress in 2018, we have been waiting to see how the law is interpreted and ultimately enforced. As a reminder, EKRA seeks to eliminate kickbacks in return for patient referrals to facilities that treat those overcoming addiction, such as recovery homes, clinical treatment centers, and laboratories. (NOTE: EKRA applies to all laboratories, not just those related to addiction treatment.) It is essentially an expansion of the Anti-Kickback Statute, which only applies to those services that are reimbursable through federal healthcare programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, to now also cover services reimbursable through private insurers.

New Interpretation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Rocks the Industry

It’s not lost on us that our interpretation of § 1692c(b) runs the risk of upsetting the status quo in the debt-collection industry. This quote from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal in its April 21, 2021 opinion from the case of Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services, Inc. is possibly the biggest understatement in the history of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. At a minimum, the Eleventh Circuit’s opinion has sent shockwaves and fear throughout multiple sectors of the financial services industry.

Construction Industry Trends and Predictions Through 2021 and Beyond: Insurance and Emerging Threats

A 2021 survey identified three key issues impacting the construction industry in 2021: (1) the financial health of contractors; (2) the continuing risk of the pandemic; and (3) technology driving productivity, but also increasing the risk of cybersecurity threats. With this backdrop, insurance premiums in the construction industry are generally on the rise in 2021.