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Carolina Guio is our 2023 Summer Intern

Carolina Guio will be joining Jones Health Law as our 2023 Summer Intern. Currently, she attends Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad College of Law and is expected to graduate in December 2023.

Internships at Jones Health Law are designed to give our interns the tools that they will need to successfully practice law once they graduate from law school.

Here are a few things that you should know about Carolina:

Where are you from?

I am originally from Colombia.

When did you move to America?

I moved to the United States full time in 2004.

Why did you decide to go to Law School?

I started my law school journey back in Colombia. After many years of working in the legal field as a paralegal it felt like a natural next step to pursue my law degree here in the US.

What interests you about Health Law?

I find Health Law an interesting area of the law because it is ever evolving.

What are you hoping to gain from this internship?

Health Law is a very niche and specialized area of law so I am excited to have the opportunity to gain direct exposure and knowledge from an expert in the field.

Welcome to the Jones Health Law Team, Carolina. We are very happy to have  you with us!

Jamaal Jones Is Interviewed by Newsweek Magazine on South Florida Nursing Diploma Scandal

Recently Jamaal Jones was interviewed by Newsweek Magazine regarding the nursing diploma scandal surrounding various nursing schools. 

In late January, 25 individuals were arrested for their role in providing fraudulent diplomas to students enrolled in 4 schools.  Jamaal Jones is working with victims affected by the fraudulent actions of those in ownership of the schools caught up in the FBI Investigation. This investigation has had an overwhelmingly negative impact on the lives and careers of the unknowing nurses. Mr. Jones has set out to prove his clients are educated, certified, and have dedicated their lives to providing care for others. Jamaal is working tirelessly to clear their names and reputation and maintain their licenses and ability to provide care to their community.

Click here to read the full interview

What is a Homestead Exemption and Do I Qualify?

The Homestead Exemption Explained

In many states, homeowners have the option of using what’s called a Homestead Exemption to reduce the amount of property tax owed on their home per year. The exemption is a property tax break that lowers the taxable value of a home. Property taxes are assessed by the local taxing authority and are calculated based on the assessed value of the property and location. The Homestead Exemption also serves as a provision to protect against bankruptcy and creditors in the event of a homeowner’s passing. The exemption provides surviving spouses with continued lower tax and asset rates. The allowable Homestead Exemption differs based on which State the primary residence is in and does not lower or affect the assessed value of a home. In some states, a homeowner needs to meet certain requirements (age requirements, be a disabled person or a veteran, etc) to qualify for a Homestead Exemption. In Florida, the exemption is available to all homeowners on their primary residence. The Homestead Exemption can reduce the taxable property value by as much as $50,000 a year.

How Do You Know How Much Will be Exempt?

In Florida, there is a tiered system to the Homestead Exemption. The tiers are determined by every $25,000 of a property’s value. The first $25,000 of a home’s assessed value is fully exempt from property taxes. The second $25,000 value is taxed in full. The third $25,000 of a home’s assessed value is exempt from all but school and district tax liability. The fourth $25,000+  is fully taxable. For instance, if a home is valued at $110,000 the first $25,000 is tax free. The second $25,000 is taxable at the full rate. The third $25,000 is exempt except for school & district taxes and the remaining $35,000 are fully taxable. That means this home has a tax liability on $60,000 of the home’s assessed value (plus the school and district taxes). Taxpayers can maximize the tax credit on their primary residence by up to $50,000 a year by applying for this exemption.

Who Qualifies for a Homestead Exemption?

There are very few limiting factors for Florida homeowners who want to apply for a Homestead Exemption. A Homestead Exemption is only allowable for a homeowners primary residence. As the name implies, a primary residence is a home that a homeowner takes occupancy for the majority of the year. The Homestead Exemption is not allowable to a second home or an investment property. To qualify for a Homestead Exemption you must (1) be the property owner,  (2) have lived in the home as of January 1 of the qualifying tax year, and (3) not rent your home for more than 30 calendar days. Renting a property for more than 30 days in 2 consecutive years is considered abandonment of the Homestead Exemption.

Mobile homes can also qualify for a Homestead Exemption as long as the home itself and the land it sits on is owned by the homeowner. The mobile home must be permanently affixed to the land and the homeowner must obtain a Real Property (RP) decal for the home.

Can I Transfer My Homestead Exemption?

If a Florida homeowner moves from one Florida homestead to another Florida homestead, their exemption is not transferable. However, a Florida homeowner obtaining a new homestead in Florida can use a Portability Amendment to limit the increase of the new home’s taxable value. The homeowner can do this by applying for the Save Our Homes Assessment Limitation. The Save Our Homes (SOH) assessment allows homeowners who have previously qualified for a Homestead Exemption to limit the annual increase in the assessed value of a homestead property to 3%. To apply for this, the homeowner must submit a Form DR-501T along with the new Homestead Exemption before March 15th.

Are There Any Other Property Tax Exemptions Available?

There are additional benefits for the elderly, veterans and disabled persons that can be used on top of the Homestead Exemption. The elderly have a Long Time Limited Income Senior Discount available to those 65 and older who have resided in Florida for over 25 years. Income conditions exist for this tax credit. Deployed service members may also qualify for a credit based on the amount of time they were deployed in a given year. Various disabilities also qualify for an additional credit if a homeowner had qualified for the Homestead Exemption.

The application for a Homestead Exemption and all other credits can be done online or by mail. The form required for the Homestead Exemption is a DR-501 and can be found on the Miami Dade Government site along with information on the other tax breaks available. See below for link to information on the allowable credits and forms:

https://www.miamidade.gov/global/service.page?Mduid_service=ser1470859973470816

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It should be noted that I am not your lawyer (unless you have presently retained my services through a retainer agreement). This post is not intended as legal advice, it is purely educational and informational, and no attorney-client relationship shall result after reading it. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice. If you do not have one and would like to retain my legal services, please contact me using the contact information listed above.

All information and references made to laws, rules, regulations, and advisory opinions were accurate based on the law as it existed at this time, but laws are constantly evolving. Please contact me to be sure that the law which will govern your business is current. Thank you.

Florida House Bill 725 Introduces New Requirements for Administering IV Hydration Therapy under the Stephanie Balais Act

IV Hydration Vitamin treatments have taken the world by storm in recent years. This alternative medicine practice has gained popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic. It promises to boost the immune system in a post-pandemic world where everyone has developed elevated attentiveness to their bodies and wellness. Certain IV therapies are widely promoted to treat conditions such as fatigue, dehydration, fibromyalgia, asthma, migraines, and more. The ‘Myers Cocktail’ has been coined as one of the most popular mixtures claiming to “heal” patients from many ailments such as those listed above. It was named after the pioneer of IV Hydration, John Myers, who founded IV Hydration treatments in the 1960s. This cocktail is only one of countless mixes used for IV Hydration treatments.

Although popularity has spiked in IV Hydration recently, not much progress has been made to regulate procedures and care for those seeking these treatments. These IV treatments are executed in various settings (i.e. home or place of residence) by various providers (e.g. RNs, LPNs, APRNs, M.D.s, etc.). While there are definitive rules about who can administer an IV therapy treatment, there are not many protocols on emergency care. As with any wellness or medical treatment, there is always some level of risk to be considered beforehand. These risks include but are not limited to vitamin toxicity, infection, and nutritional imbalances.

After the unfortunate death of a young, aspiring nursing student in South Florida (Ms. Stephanie Balais) Florida Representatives filed House Bill 725. It is cited as the “Stephanie Balais Act”. In the products liability case of Stephanie Balais it is noted that her untimely passing was due to a Selenium treatment she received in 2018. It is unclear whether the fault lie with the manufacturer and the batch of products; the individual administering the product; or the lack of established procedures in the event of an emergency.  Liability was never determined in this case, and the case was settled out of court. However, this case prompted the introduction of House Bill 725.

The Act defines Intravenous Hydration Therapy as “a procedure in which high concentrations of vitamins and minerals are administered directly into the person’s bloodstream, allowing rapid absorption of higher doses of the vitamins and minerals than if received through food or supplements”. The prospective rule seeks to require the Board of Nursing to clearly define procedures to: (1) safely administer such treatments; (2) educate those administering treatments; and (3) create protocols for emergency situations. The Act also requires the following:

  • Completion of a Florida Department of Health self-screening risk assessment questionnaire from a patient prior to administering IV Hydration treatments;
  • Notifications to the patient’s designated physicians that an IV Hydration treatment has been administered and documentation regarding the process;
  • Enhanced emergency care plans for the facilities offering treatments, which must be written and kept at the location offering IV Hydration treatments;
  • Patients are also to be provided instructions detailing when to seek medical attention and information on the risks and side effects associated with the treatment being performed; and
  • Patients must receive a visit summary.

The purpose of the Act is to ensure the safety of patients considering IV Hydration treatments. Due to the rise in popularity and frequency of these treatments, it has become necessary to create safety guidelines to eliminate or at the very least minimize risks for the healthcare and wellness community. This is why any written emergency plan must at a minimum include: (1) the name and address of the hospital closest to the location where the IV Hydration Treatment is being performed; (2) reasons why an emergency transfer may be obligatory; and (3) the medical services that must be utilized in the event of a medical emergency. Additionally, if a health care provider, upon review of the completed self-screening risk assessment questionnaire determines that a patient can’t safely receive an IV Hydration Treatment the provider must decline administering the treatment to that individual.

We will have to wait to see how the IV Hydration business will be impacted moving forward. Violation of this Act will result in disciplinary action for the physicians and nurses who are providing IV Hydration Treatments to their patients. The act was set to become effective on July 1, 2023 but died in Congress. This Bill is not effective and the proposed requirements do not have to enforced by healthcare practitioners.

For more information on IV Hydration, please read our previous article,  Establishing A Mobile IV Therapy Clinic in Florida. 

IV Hydration Masterclass: Legal Requirements of Starting an IV Hydration Business

 

 

*****************************************************

It should be noted that I am not your lawyer (unless you have presently retained my services through a retainer agreement). This post is not intended as legal advice, it is purely educational and informational, and no attorney-client relationship shall result after reading it. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice. If you do not have one and would like to retain my legal services, please contact me using the contact information listed above.

 

All information and references made to laws, rules, regulations, and advisory opinions were accurate based on the law as it existed at this time, but laws are constantly evolving. Please contact me to be sure that the law which will govern your business is current. Thank you.