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The Reasoning Behind Governor DeWine's $775 Million Budget Reduction

This week, Governor DeWine announced $775 million in cuts to the state operating budget due to financial repercussions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Reductions –The DeWine administration will reduce General Revenue Fund spending by $775 million between now and the end of the state fiscal year (June). The following reductions will be made for the next two months:

  • Medicaid: $210 million
  • K12 Foundation Payment Reduction: $300 million
  • Other Education Budget Line Items: $55 million
  • Higher Education: $110 million
  • All Other Agencies: $100 million

Recent Timeline The state is required by statute to have a balanced budget each biennium. As Ohio enters month 11 of its 24-month budget, the motivation to balance the budget is forcing the cuts. In making his announcement, the Governor chronologically broke down how Ohio arrived at its present condition:

  • February, the state was running $200 million above budget estimates;
  • April, the state was forced to shut down to mitigate COVID-19;
  • As of May 6, 2020, the state is $776.9 million in the red; and
  • He expects the state to continue to experience budgetary concerns for months. 

The ReasoningGovernor DeWine anchored his reasoning to future-facing concerns. He cautioned that, “[w]hile we do not know what the coming months will hold, COVID is here with us and will be here for months to come.” He hedged his possible cautionary actions by pointing to his unwillingness to draw from the Rainy Day Fund for the rest of this fiscal year (two months), but will likely need to tap the budget stabilization fund in the next fiscal year beginning in July. 

On MedicaidThe Governor said that cuts to Medicaid will not come at the cost of essential services, and that he believes they will be able to find savings within the system even as the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently, the Director of the Office of Budget and Management indicated that much of the Medicaid cuts will be achieved as an adjustment to Medicaid managed care plan rates.

For more, contact Daphne L. Kackloudis 614.246.7508, dlkackloudis@bmdllc.com.

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.

Reopening & Social Media: Tips for Businesses

As the country starts to reopen, businesses are under great pressure to keep employees and customers safe. Even if a business follows every reopening requirement, there will inevitably be scrutiny from within and outside the organization. And, in this world of social media, perception tends to become reality. Below are a few practical tips to avoid attracting negative press while restarting your business.