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Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

The $70 Billion Question – CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Helping Hardest Hit Hospitals First

HHS finally unveiled its preliminary plan for disbursement of the remaining $70 billion of CARES Act Provider Relief Funds. The initial $30 billion was disbursed to providers based on 2019 Medicare fee-for-service payments. HHS indicated that the remaining $70 billion would be disbursed to (1) providers that incurred COVID-19 expenses, (2) rural providers, (3) providers that primarily receive payments from other sources (such as Medicaid), and (4) providers that treat uninsured Americans.

How will the funds be distributed?

First, $10 billion will go to hospitals that have been impacted hardest by COVID-19. This will be based upon the total number of admitted patients who tested positive for COVID-19. Hospitals will have until April 23, 2020 at midnight to apply and should have received an email with a link to the portal (there is no website similar to the payment attestation).

Providers will need to submit the following information (HHS estimates this should take 5 minutes):

  • Tax Identification Number
  • National Provider Identifier
  • Total number of Intensive Care Unit beds as of April 10, 2020
  • Total number of admissions with a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 from January 1, 2020 to April 10, 2020

Second, an additional $20 billion will be rolled out based on overall patient revenue. There will likely be an application or reporting mechanism. Payments will be issued on a rolling basis. Stay tuned for updates on application release or additional information.

Third, an additional $30 billion is set aside for SNFs, dentists, and providers that only service Medicaid providers.

More information can be found by following the link below.

https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/04/22/hhs-announces-additional-allocations-of-cares-act-provider-relief-fund.html

For questions, contact your primary BMD Healthcare or Hospital Law attorney.

Explosive Growth in Pot of Gold Opportunity for Bank (and Other) Cannabis Lenders Driving Erosion of the Barriers

Our original article on bank lending to the cannabis industry anticipated that the convergence of interest between banks and the cannabis industry would draw more and larger banks to the industry. Banks were awash in liquidity with limited deployment options, while bankable cannabis businesses had rapidly growing needs for more and lower cost credit. Since then, the pot of gold opportunity for banks to lend into the cannabis industry has grown exponentially due to a combination of market constraints on equity causing a dramatic shift to debt and the ever-increasing capital needs of one of the country’s fastest growing industries. At the same time, hurdles to entry of new banks are being systematically cleared as the yellow brick road to the cannabis industry’s access to the financial markets is being paved, brick by brick, by the progressively increasing number and size of banks that are now entering the market.

2021 EEOC Charge Statistics: Retaliation & Impact of Remote Work

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its detailed information on workplace discrimination charges it received in 2021. Unsurprisingly, for the second year in a row, the total number of charges decreased as COVID-19 either shut down workplaces or disconnected employees from each other. In 2021, the agency received a total of approximately 61,000 workplace discrimination charges - the fewest in 25 years by a wide margin. For reference, the agency received over 67,000 charges in 2020, and averaged almost 90,000 charges per year over the previous 10 years.

Ohio’s Managed Care Overhaul Delayed – New Implementation Timeline

At the direction of Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) launched the Medicaid Managed Care Procurement process in 2019. ODM’s stated vision for the procurement was to focus on people and not just the business of managed care. This is the first structural change to Ohio’s managed care system since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) approval of Ohio’s Medicaid program in 2005. Initially, all of the new managed care programs were supposed to be implemented starting on July 1, 2022. However, ODM Director Maureen Corcoran recently confirmed that this date will be pushed back for several managed care-related programs.

Laboratory Specimen Collection Arrangements with Contract Hospitals - OIG Advisory Opinion 22-09

On April 28, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) published an Advisory Opinion[1] in which it evaluated a proposed arrangement where a network of clinical laboratories (the “Requestor”) would compensate hospitals (each a “Contract Hospital”) for specimen collection, processing, and handling services (“Collection Services”) for laboratory tests furnished by the Requestor (the “Proposed Arrangement”). The OIG concluded that the Proposed Arrangement would generate prohibited remuneration under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) if the requisite intent were present. This is due to both the possibility that the proposed per-patient-encounter fee would be used to induce or reward referrals to Requestor and the associated risk of improperly steering patients to Requestor.

Property Owner Protection from Tax Valuation Challenges

New legislation provides significant new protections for commercial property owners against challenges to valuation primarily by local school boards and prohibiting side agreements to avoid tax valuation changes. The Ohio Legislature has approved House Bill 126 which will go into effect July 2022 but will effectively apply to the 2023 tax valuation year.