admin

Importance of Communication During Care Transitions

by admin on September 28, 2021 No comments

Over nearly the last two years, nothing has become more evident that the importance of clear and concise communication during care transitions.  As health care facilities struggled to manage the burgeoning demand for inpatient beds, and in particular ICU beds, care transitions were fast and furious.  To facilitate care delivery and expedite care transitions, CMS issued numerous 1135 COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers.  Examples (not an exhaustive list) of those blanket waivers related to required communications that may have affected the quality or safety of care during and immediately after care transitions include:

  • Allowance of audio-only telehealth for certain services.
  • Waiver of the requirement to authenticate verbal orders within 48 hours.
  • Restrictions on patient rights regarding visitation, particularly where an outbreak of COVID exists.
  • Limitations on detailed information sharing for discharge planning for hospitals and critical access hospitals.
  • Extension of time within which to complete medical records following discharge.
  • Expansion of role of allied health professionals, reduction in physician supervision requirements in certain settings, and
  • Waiver of requirement to develop and keep current a nursing care plan for each patient.
read more
adminImportance of Communication During Care Transitions

What to Know when Buying a Veterinarian Practice

by admin on September 23, 2021 No comments

Preparing to buy a veterinarian practice may seem like a daunting task. There are many considerations, many of which usually require an expert opinion and guidance. Buying a veterinarian practice involves legal, financing, real estate, and accounting expertise, at the very least, to ensure a smooth deal with the buyer being protected. Here’s what to consider:

Legal

Buying a practice usually means buying the assets of the practice, rather than the corporation itself. In any event, the buyer is taking a significant financial and legal risk and just like any other purchase, you want to make sure that you are getting what you paid for and not any (or at least as little as possible) of the baggage. Every veterinarian transaction should include a well-drafted and thorough purchase agreement which includes substantial representations and warranties by the seller, thorough lists of included and excluded assets, terms addressing restrictive covenants, and disclosures about any potential liabilities affecting the practice. In addition, some transactions might require a portion of the purchase price to be seller financed. In that case, there will be a need for a promissory note and security agreement. As the deal progresses, there might be a need for additional documents to cover an assignment of rights for certain licenses, contracts, and other. Among other things, the final document signed includes a bill a sale, which is like a receipt for the buyer evidencing the sale of the assets.

read more
adminWhat to Know when Buying a Veterinarian Practice

All You Need to Know About the Florida Patient Brokering Act

by admin on September 22, 2021 No comments

There are a number of laws in place to ensure that patients are protected and never sent out for unnecessary referrals that may be more financially than medically motivated.

For this reason, Florida has instituted the Florida Patient Brokering Act, otherwise known as anti-kickback statutes, that may impact local healthcare clinics and medical offices.

What Is the Patient Brokering Act?

The Patient Brokering Act in Florida makes it illegal for any organization to provide bonuses, split-fee arrangements, benefits, commissions, or any kickbacks for patient referrals.

This means that a specialist may not pay a commission or kickback to a general practitioner for referring a patient to their care, nor can any healthcare office offer a bonus or rebate to any patient for choosing their services.

How Did the Florida Patient Brokering Act Change Healthcare Practices?

Previously, it was normal practice for one healthcare facility to recommend a certain provider or treatment center to patients who sought care outside of the originating facility’s purview. In return, the referred party might pay a commission on the services rendered to that patient or otherwise offer a bonus or kickback of some kind for that referral.

Unfortunately, that practice resulted in a number of referrals being made for patients who may not be in medical need of that care. With the goal of generating a kickback, a referring facility might send a patient to the partner provider even if it was not for a necessary treatment. This meant that the referred facility would charge the patient’s insurance for care that may or may not be medically necessary, creating an abuse of insurance and, in some cases, putting the patient at risk as well.

What Do the Florida Patient Brokering Laws Mean for Florida Healthcare Providers?

For healthcare facilities or providers that have been charged with patient brokering, action is needed. Contacting a healthcare attorney is essential to making sure that you are fully equipped to protect your reputation and get back to focusing on what you do best.

No healthcare professionals are immune to the Florida Patient Brokering Act. Doctors, dentists, and pharmacists may all be accused of taking kickbacks for patient referrals.

Similarly, hospitals, dental offices, drug addiction treatment programs, nursing homes, and pharmacies can be brought up on the statute as well.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Anti-Kickback Statutes in Florida?

Yes, there are a few. Perhaps the most important of these is that providers within the same group practice can avoid repercussions for referrals with any financial benefit if they are for providers within the same group.

Similarly, some contracted health benefit plans can circumvent the problem as well.

If you are facing charges due to the Florida Patient Brokering Act, reach out to the Florida Healthcare Law Firm today and set up a consultation.

read more
adminAll You Need to Know About the Florida Patient Brokering Act

What’s New with Regenerative Medicine?

by admin on September 21, 2021 No comments

The field of regenerative medicine is ever expanding and evolving. As more viable options become available to patients, it’s important to stay abreast of regulation surrounding many of these applications.

In late 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began informing the public of multiple reports of serious adverse events experienced by patients who were “treated” with non-FDA approved products marketed as containing exosomes. As a general matter, exosomes used to treat diseases and conditions in humans are regulated as drugs and biological products under the Public Health Service Act and the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and are subject to premarket review and approval requirements. At the time of the 2019 warning, there were no FDA-approved exosome products and the FDA since then has not put out any new guidance.

read more
adminWhat’s New with Regenerative Medicine?

Protecting Your Medical Staff Privileges from Adverse Action

by admin on September 20, 2021 No comments

Ever consider why the ability to practice at a hospital is considered a “privilege” and not a “right”?  That is because the hospital granting those privileges has broad discretion to grant, modify, suspend, or revoke those privileges.  They are privileges, not rights, because the hospital has a duty protect itself and its staff and patients from the risks of the willful or negligent act of is medical staff.  The granting or refusal of privileges is therefore a duty of the hospital.  If the hospital fails to carry out that duty in an appropriate manner, it can be subject to liability for negligent credentialing.  Because of this, the hospital’s actions in granting, modifying, suspending, or revoking privileges receive deferential treatment at any subsequent level of review, whether at a hearing, on appeal, or in subsequent litigation.

When a physician is faced with a potential threat of future action against his/her medical staff privileges, the physician should take immediate notice and action.  Such a threat is frequently because of a slow-brewing storm built on multiple components.  Whether the issue is disruptive behavior, quality concerns, administrative leadership changes or a backdrop of other political influencers, recognizing the issue and addressing it early is the best way to avoid a full-blown attack on your medical staff privileges and the need to defend yourself in a formal hearing process.

read more
adminProtecting Your Medical Staff Privileges from Adverse Action

What to Know When Buying a Dental Practice

by admin on September 17, 2021 No comments

Preparing to buy a dental practice may seem like a daunting task. There are many considerations, many of which usually require an expert opinion and guidance. Buying a dental practice involves legal, financing, real estate, and accounting expertise, at the very least, to ensure a smooth deal with the buyer being protected. Here’s what to consider:

Legal

Buying a practice usually means buying the assets of the practice, rather than the corporation itself. In any event, the buyer is taking a significant financial and legal risk and just like any other purchase, you want to make sure that you are getting what you paid for and not any (or at least as little as possible) of the baggage. Every dental transaction should include a well-drafted and thorough purchase agreement which includes substantial representations and warranties by the seller, thorough lists of included and excluded assets, terms addressing restrictive covenants, and disclosures about any potential liabilities affecting the practice. In addition, some transactions might require a portion of the purchase price to be seller financed. In that case, there will be a need for a promissory note and security agreement. As the deal progresses, there might be a need for additional documents to cover an assignment of rights for certain licenses, contracts, and other. Among other things, the final document signed includes a bill a sale, which is like a receipt for the buyer evidencing the sale of the assets.

read more
adminWhat to Know When Buying a Dental Practice

Evaluating Hidden Pitfalls in Contracts

by admin on September 13, 2021 No comments

Contracts are a fact of life for all businesses.  But many businesses have in-house attorneys or contract specialists that manage the review and negotiation of the terms and specific conditions of each contract.  Smaller health care providers may not have the luxury of someone on staff to assist with contracting, someone who is particularly astute with contract language and pitfalls.

To evaluate and avoid some of the more common pitfalls, it is critical to review each contract in its entirety, whether the contract is to lease your office space, for internet service in your office, or rental of highly sophisticated medical equipment.  Having an attorney familiar with healthcare law review your agreement is certainly one way to identify and avoid the most common pitfalls.

Some common contracts that health care providers may encounter include:

read more
adminEvaluating Hidden Pitfalls in Contracts

How to Prepare Your Dental Practice for Sale in Florida

by admin on September 11, 2021 No comments

There are a number of laws and rules regulating the dental industry in Florida. The sale of a dental practice is regulated by these laws.

It is imperative to not only stay in step with all the legal practices and procedures to protect against liability issues down the road but also to ensure that you get the most profit possible from the business you’ve worked so hard to create.

Know the Cost of Selling Your Dental Practice

Before you begin the process of putting your dental office up for sale, it’s a good idea to know all the costs involved. Speaking with your accountant to better understand the tax implications and how to manage equipment issues, unsold goods, employee transfer, and more can help you determine when might be the right time to sell. In some cases, it may be prudent to postpone a sale by a few months or years to get everything in place.

Know the Value of Your Dental Office

A proper valuation should be done prior to putting your dental office up for sale, so you know you are asking a fair price. Avoid any company offering to do this for free as it likely will not be done thoroughly.

During the process, keep up a steady level of patient care and continue to take on new patients. This will ensure that the value of your practice does not drop.

Choose a Healthcare Law Firm With Dental Experience

It will save you thousands of dollars in the long run to work with an experienced law firm who knows the ins and outs of the paperwork, the questions you should be asking, and the lay of the land in the dental community in your area.

Contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm today to begin the process of preparing your dental office for sale.

read more
adminHow to Prepare Your Dental Practice for Sale in Florida

What Is a Telehealth Parity Law?

by admin on September 10, 2021 No comments

During COVID, telemedicine (the ability to get healthcare online via video call or by telephone) was a lifesaver. Especially before the vaccine was available, everyone was at risk when entering a medical treatment facility. The medical community responded by making sure that telemedicine options were available.

In most states, laws were passed to ensure that patients were covered for telehealth visits just like any other form of healthcare. In Florida, the legal measures taken for that purpose have expired. Healthcare providers are left wondering how to best serve their at-risk patients.

What Is Parity Law?

In general, parity law seeks to ensure that all patients are provided insurance coverage equally, no matter what the nature of their ailment. In most cases, it speaks to the treatment of mental health and addiction issues, ensuring patients get coverage for treatment of these disorders as easily as they can for any medical disorder.

What Is the Mental Health Parity Law?

Mental health parity laws make sure that patients who need treatment for mental health issues, including addiction, can get insurance coverage for their care, just as they would if they were to seek treatment for diabetes or cancer.

What Is Telehealth Parity Law?

Telehealth parity laws make sure that insurance coverage is provided for medical appointments that occur over the phone or via a video conferencing call, just as it would if the appointments were in person.

During COVID, telehealth parity laws have been a huge focus in the Florida healthcare world since the governor signed a waiver to ensure that patients would be able to access telemedicine with ease.

Are There Telehealth Parity Laws in Florida?

At the end of June 2021, the governor’s waiver providing for telehealth parity expired. What does this mean for your medical office or healthcare facility? Contact us at Florida Healthcare Law Firm to find out more about your options.

read more
adminWhat Is a Telehealth Parity Law?

Surprise! “No Surprises Act” Enforcement Delayed

by admin on September 8, 2021 No comments

It should come as no surprise that the federal government has decided to delay enforcement of the No Surprises Act.  So although the Act will still take effect on January 1, 2022, the government will not enforce certain provisions of the law until applicable rules are in place.  This will hopefully allow the providers, and the government, time to figure out the best way to comply with the law.

The most difficult provision of the No Surprises Act will likely be the “good faith estimate” requirement.  Under the law, when an individual provider or facility schedules a patient for services, they will be required to gather information about the patient’s payor status.  If the patient has insurance, the provider/facility must send a good faith estimate of the expected charges, billing and diagnostic codes to the insurer.  If the patient is uninsured, that information must be given to the patient.

read more
adminSurprise! “No Surprises Act” Enforcement Delayed