The Legal Side of COVID-19

April 30th, 2020
The Legal Side of COVID-19

COVID-19 has led to unprecedented times for many businesses and healthcare providers. As a law firm that works with many small businesses and mental healthcare providers, we understand that dealing with COVID-19 has legal implications for your business during this time. We want you to focus on safely providing your services while we take care of any legal issues. If your business is struggling with anything – from the legality of practicing virtually to managing leases – during this time of COVID-19, contact a lawyer in East Brunswick, NJ, such as Bowne Barry & Barry. Read on to learn how a lawyer can help you right now. 

Dealing with “Virtual” Mental Healthcare

Photo by Allie on Unsplash

If you are a mental healthcare provider and your office is closed, that doesn’t mean you can stop working. Your patients need you now more than ever. During this time, many providers have gone virtual and adopted the “telemedicine” approach. This way, they can stay connected to their patients even if they can’t see them in person. When it comes to telehealth, it is important to understand what can and cannot be done with regard to avoiding HIPAA violations.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office for Civil Rights, telehealth is defined as services provided through “audio, text messaging, or video communication technology, including video conferencing software.” This department also says that “covered health care providers will not be subject to penalties for violations of the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules that occur in the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency.”

This is great news for mental healthcare providers, as they can continue to provide therapy and make diagnoses virtually. There are still things to be aware of to make sure providers are being HIPAA compliant, and a lawyer can help you figure these out. For example, as a provider, you cannot be in a public setting when doing a telehealth call. You also cannot use forums such as Facebook or public chat rooms to provide care. At Bowne Barry & Barry, we can help you figure out the ins and outs of telehealth services to make sure that you are maintaining compliance with HIPAA in this new setting of healthcare. 

Lease Management

Many small businesses have had to close their doors during the COVID-19 outbreak. Even if they can still operate online or through curbside pickup, businesses are seeing a huge drop in sales. Losing business can make monthly fixed expenses like rent difficult – if not impossible – to pay. At Bowne Barry & Barry, we can help you renegotiate your lease during this situation. We will work with your landlord to come up with a plan to reduce your monthly payment or to put it on hold until times are better. Remember, losing you as a tenant is not good for the landlord. Right now, they won’t be able to find anyone to take your place. It is beneficial for them to keep you as a tenant, so hopefully they will try to work with you in order to come up with a plan.

Paycheck Protection Program

Photo by Vladimir Solomyani on Unsplash

If you are a small business, you have most certainly heard about the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP loan helps small businesses keep their employees on payroll without having to lay them off. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the loans are forgiven if employees are kept on the payroll for 8 weeks and if the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. The loan is fully forgiven if at least 75% of the forgiven amount went to payroll. There are several rules, stipulations, and guidelines that go along with this loan.

The lawyers at Bowne Barry & Barry can help your business apply for the loan. We will help you gather the necessary documents and fill out the application form. This program is a lifesaver for many small businesses. Without it, a lot of businesses would be forced to lay off their employees. Most small businesses are not equipped to go for months without cash flow and then have to pay salaries on top of that. Since there are so many businesses applying for this loan, it is important to get your application in as quickly as possible. At Bowne Barry & Barry, we can also help you seek out additional small business help through various loans and grants. At this point, it is crucial to remain above water so when this finally passes, you are in a position to open your doors back up and begin doing business again.

How A Lawyer in East Brunswick, NJ Can Help

COVID-19 is scary and overwhelming for many reasons. First, it is a serious virus that has killed many people. Second, it has negatively impacted the economy as many businesses have had close their doors or operate in a reduced capacity. If you are a mental healthcare provider, it is crucial that you continue providing services through telehealth. Your patients will need you now more than ever. If you are a small business, you need to renegotiate your rent and apply for the Paycheck Protection Program.

Call Bowne Barry & Barry As Your Lawyer in East Brunswick NJ

The legal aspect of all of these things may feel overwhelming if not impossible right now. At Bowne Barry & Barry, we know that you are dealing with a lot, and we are here to help. As an experienced lawyer in East Brunswick, NJ, we can help you navigate the legal side of COVID-19 so that you can provide the best services to your patients or customers at this time. We are here for you throughout the entire process. You focus on keeping your practice or business up and running, and we will take care of any legal issues. For more information about the services we provide during this time of COVID-19, contact us today.