January 2013

You've Been Served! Now What?

Medical care providers often receive subpoenas for patient records.  They also receive subpoenas to appear at a deposition, hearing or trial and testify about patient treatment.  What medical providers may not know is that contradictions in California and federal law exist about when it is permissible to disclose information pursuant to a subpoena.  Inexperienced providers run the risk of violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA") if they simply and quickly produce records or testify in response to a subpoena.

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The Problem of the Uninsured Employer

A laborer on a home construction site falls from a second story platform, suffering serious orthopedic fractures which require air ambulance transport and surgery.  Only after the injury does the injured worker learn that his employer failed to carry worker’s compensation insurance coverage for his employees.  Such a scenario is not hypothetical;  it describes a current case being handled by Janssen Malloy LLP.

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Electing S-Corporation Status

A very important financial decision for Humboldt County corporations is whether to elect federal income tax treatment under IRC subchapter S.  S-Corporation treatment is similar (but not identical) to partnership treatment. All the corporation’s shareholders are bound by an election into a S-Corporation.  A S election has the effect of making the corporation a pass-through entity for federal and California tax purposes, but it does not change the nature of the business as a corporation for state corporate law purposes.

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Mileage Reimbursement Rate Changed 1/1/13

The Internal Revenue Service recently issued the 2013 optional standard mileage rates, which are often used by employers to reimburse employees for using employees’ automobiles for business purposes.

Beginning January 1, 2013, the standard mileage rates for the use of an auto will be (1) 56.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, (2) 24 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, and (3) 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.  The business miles driven rate increases during 2013 by 1 cent from the 2012 rate.

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