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President Trump Signs into Law CARES Act Print E-mail
Written by BDO   
Wednesday, 01 April 2020 00:00

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides relief to taxpayers affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The CARES Act is the third round of federal government aid related to COVID-19. BDO summarizes the top provisions in the new legislation below, with more detailed alerts on individual provisions to follow. Click here for a link to the full text of the bill.

2020 Recovery Refund Checks for Individuals

The CARES Act provides eligible individuals with a refund check equal to $1,200 ($2,400 for joint filers) plus $500 per qualifying child. The refund begins to phase out if the individual’s adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers and $112,500 for head of household filers). The credit is completely phased out for individuals with no qualifying children if their AGI exceeds $99,000 ($198,000 for joint filers and $136,500 for head of household filers).

Eligible individuals do not include nonresident aliens, individuals who may be claimed as a dependent on another person’s return, estates, or trusts. Eligible individuals and qualifying children must all have a valid social security number. For married taxpayers who filed jointly with their most recent tax filings (2018 or 2019) but will file separately in 2020, each spouse will be deemed to have received one half of the credit.

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Last Updated on Friday, 03 April 2020 18:19
More than 5,000 Surgery Centers Can Now Serve as Makeshift Hospitals During COVID-19 Crisis Print E-mail
Written by Liz Szabo & Cara Anthony | KHN   
Tuesday, 31 March 2020 12:37

The Trump administration cleared the way Monday to immediately use outpatient surgery centers, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, hotels and even dormitories as makeshift hospitals, health care centers or quarantine sites during the coronavirus crisis. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced it is temporarily waiving a range of rules, thereby allowing doctors to care for more patients. Hospitals and health systems overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients will be able to transfer people with other medical needs to the nation's 5,000 outpatient surgery centers, about half of which are affiliated with hospitals. 

Teaching Doctors to Be Government Contractors: The New Reality at Public Hospitals Print E-mail
Written by Andrew E. Schwartz   
Thursday, 19 March 2020 08:36

I recently helped a small, provider-owned group obtain a medical staffing contract at a public hospital in South Florida. As the son of a doctor, this was one of the best achievements of my legal career. But it schwartz andrew - fort lauderdaledemonstrated some of the challenges doctors may face in the near future.

Once, hospitals were staffed by doctors and nurses who were directly employed by the hospital. Then, the landscape changed. Instead of employing doctors and nurses, hospitals entered into contracts with medical staffing companies. Many of these staffing companies were just that; large, companies that placed bodies in hospitals. They were not necessarily owned, or even run by, doctors. But, some entrepreneurial doctors formed their own medical practices or groups and obtained some of these staffing contracts for themselves. The doctors who run such practices have to wear two hats: doctor and business owner.

Public hospitals offered a refuge for medical providers who didn’t want to work for large staffing companies. Although public hospitals are frequently required to conduct competitive bidding for property and services, contracts for personal medical services were often exempt from such requirements. This allowed medical providers to legitimately leverage their professional reputations and relationships into staffing contracts at public hospitals.

That era is coming to an end. As government entities come under ever-increasing pressure to spend efficiently, public hospitals have started using competitive bidding (requests for proposals or RFPs) for medical services. In the public bidding environment, it is not enough for an established local doctor with an excellent reputation and a good working relationship with hospital administration to offer his group’s services at a “fair price.” That doctor must show that he is better than the competition, which may include large staffing companies. Larger companies have several distinct advantages over smaller, provider-owned firms. One of the most notable is that larger companies understand a simple truth of the public bidding process that many smaller companies don’t: The contract doesn’t go to the firm that is “best;” the contract goes to the firm that picks up the most points during scoring.

Everyone who submits a proposal in response to an RFP claims to be the “best.” Scoring highest is how you prove you are the best and win the contract. This is where “doctors” need to act more like “government contractors.” Take, for example, a doctor-owned firm that is currently providing the services the hospital is bidding out under an RFP for a replacement contract. The incumbent doctor-owned firm may be doing an excellent job and have an outstanding relationship with the hospital’s executive administration. But, in today’s market that’s just not enough to win the contract.

RFPs usually included multiple “evaluation” or “scoring” factors the hospital will assess when selecting a contractor. Although different labels may be used, the typical RFP will include a “Management/Approach” factor and a “Past Performance” factor. An incumbent firm’s outstanding work on its current contract may get it good scores under the “Past Performance” factor, which scores the relevancy and quality of the offerors’ references. But, doing a good job on an incumbent contract will not necessarily get that firm good scores under the “Management/Approach” factor. To get good scores under the “Management/Approach” factor, the firm needs to clearly and concisely state its understanding of each stated requirement that is being assessed, and its approach to meeting that requirement. Smart contractors will explain how their approach “exceeds” the requirements.

Additionally, while no contractor should rely on “magic words,” the annoying fact of life is there is a government contracting jargon. For example, the phrase “XYZ Hospital should have substantial confidence in ABC Firm’s ability to successfully perform the RFP requirements because ABC Firm is the successful long-time incumbent provider of the services advertised in the RFP” will go a lot farther during Past Performance scoring than “As XYZ Hospital knows, ABC Firm is doing an excellent job providing these services.” Doctor-owned firms that want to keep their contracts (or win more contracts) would be well-advised to master this jargon and use it to their advantage in their proposals.

In sum, the future will bring new challenges to doctor-owned firms that want to do business with public hospitals, and doctors should prepare themselves to meet those challenges.
Andrew Schwartz is a Partner in the Fort Lauderdale and Tallahassee offices of Shutts & Bowen LLP, where he is a member of the Government Law and Business Litigation Practice Groups.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2020 09:39
Coronavirus Emergency Declared Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 16 March 2020 11:28

Libby Cathey reports for ABC News on March 13:

President Donald Trump announced Friday he's declaring a national emergency to deal with the coronavirus crisis as cases increase alarmingly and criticism mounts over how he's responding to the situation.

Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said, "To unleash the full power of the federal government, I am officially declaring a national emergency." Referring to that phrase as "two very big words," he said it would allow him to quickly get $50 billion to states, territories and localities "in our shared fight against this disease."

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Last Updated on Monday, 23 March 2020 19:01
Coronavirus reaching pandemic may hurl U.S. economy into recession Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 02 March 2020 18:31

Jonathan Garber
reports for FOX Business on Feb, 29, 2020:

U.S. equity markets were shoved into their fastest correction in history this week as fears of the coronavirus becoming a pandemic rattled investors and stoked recession fears. Seven days of heavy selling, including two from the previous week, left the major averages licking their wounds from their steepest weekly plunge since the financial crisis, according to data from the Dow Jones Market Group. When the dust settled, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 3,583 points, or 12.4 percent. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite plunged by 11.5 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Last Updated on Monday, 02 March 2020 18:38
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