Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

Returning to Work: Forecasting the New Normal in Business

We cannot predict when businesses will reopen across the country. As we publish this Alert, dynamic business leaders are cooperating in comprehensive efforts to create safe work environments so that they can all re-engage the workforce.

However, we can predict the new normal in business. Some important studies were published yesterday, and the new normal in business will be facemasks for all employees, and probably all business visitors.

The scientists at the National Institutes of Health published a study yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine addressing the question of whether the coronavirus can be “aerosolized” when people are speaking. The study advises that the coronavirus can be aerosolized and transmitted between individuals who speak in-person.

In an accompanying commentary to the study, a Harvard University biologist remarked that those aerosols from infected persons may pose a threat, “even at considerable distances and in enclosed spaces,” and identified the wearing of a masks as a prophylactic measure.

Additionally, Nature Medicine published its study yesterday finding that individuals may be infectious for two to three days before showing symptoms of Covid-19.    

What does this mean for employers?

Start sourcing facemasks now. Whether essential or non-essential, healthcare or non-healthcare, all employers will need to have facemasks for employees, and probably visitors, in order to return to new normal operations.  

When combining the studies and the commentary, it makes the current preventative measures (six-foot rule, temperature at door, sending sick employees home, etc.) look less effective than believed. Speaking can be as dangerous as coughs and sneezes. Either by governmental order, regulatory requirement, or to avoid novel claims by employees, employers will need to provide facemasks. 

We expect that additional requirements will also be issued before businesses will reopen, so it probably makes sense to start sourcing disinfectant products at the same time.

For additional information, please contact Jeffrey C. Miller, jcmiller@bmdllc.com or 216.658.2323, or any member of the L+E Team at BMD

Update: President Trump Signs Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020

On June 3, 2020, Congress updated the CARES Act by passing the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (“FA”). The legislation, which has not yet been signed into law by President Trump, would provide more flexibility to small businesses who received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).

Workers’ Compensation Claims and COVID-19

Can one of my employees file a workers’ compensation claim if they claim that they contracted coronavirus at work? We get that question a lot. Yes, they can, but you should oppose any application for coverage if you receive one. Generally, the claim will not be granted unless the employee has a job that poses a special hazard or risk of exposure to the virus and the employee can prove that he or she contracted the virus at work.

Ohio State Dental Board Implements Teledentistry Rules

Ohio law defines “teledentistry” as the delivery of dental services through the use of synchronous, real-time communication and the delivery of services of a dental hygienist or expanded function dental auxiliary pursuant to a dentist’s authorization.[1] The law requires a dentist who desires to provide dental services through teledentistry to apply for a teledentistry permit from the Ohio State Dental Board (“OSDB”).[2] Pursuant to the mandate under Ohio Revised Code 4715.436, the OSDB is implementing the following teledentistry permit rules and requirements (to be set forth under Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 4715-23). These regulations, which were subject of a public hearing on February 19, 2020, are effective on May 30, 2020.

HHS Addresses Drug Manufacturer Coupons on Out-of-Pocket Limits

On May 7, 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced their Notice of Benefit Parameters for 2021 in which HHS addressed the application of prescription drug manufacturer copay coupons towards a patient’s out-of-pocket limit. Under this guidance, HHS will permit, but not require, plans and insurers to count direct support offered to enrollees by drug manufacturers (i.e., coupons) for specific prescription drugs toward the annual limits on cost-sharing, regardless of whether a generic equivalent is available.

Important Updates, Deadlines, and Clarifications for the HHS Provider Relief Funds

On May 20, 2020, HHS made important updates and clarifications regarding the General Distribution payments to providers. Between April 10, 2020 and April 24, 2020, HHS distributed an initial $30 billion to providers based on the provider’s 2019 Medicare fee-for-service receipts. These funds were distributed automatically and providers did not need to submit an application in order to receive these funds. The funds were originally touted as a “no strings attached” stimulus payment reserved for healthcare providers. But HHS issued a 10-page Terms and Conditions and required that providers sign an attestation confirming receipt of the funds and agreeing to the Terms and Conditions.