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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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What Are Compounding Pharmacies?

by admin on September 3, 2021 No comments

Compounding pharmacies are more and more frequently being called upon to provide specific versions of drugs that are not commercially available.

According to the Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding (formerly International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists), there are about 56,000 community pharmacies in the country and only about 7,500 offer compounding services.

Because they are more frequently relied upon by patients, it is essential that they remain up-to-date on regulatory law.

What Is a Compounding Pharmacy?

A compounding pharmacy creates unique versions of drugs for patients who cannot take the commercially produced option. It can be lifesaving for patients, but strict regulations must be followed.

What Do Compounding Pharmacies Do?

A compounding pharmacy can create a liquid version of a drug that only comes in pill form, create a child’s dose from a medication that is commercially made for adults, or reformulate some prescriptions to remove a substance that may cause an allergic reaction in a patient.

Essentially, a compounding pharmacy can help patients access medications they need but are not able to take in their commercial forms.

What Types of Pharmacies Will Perform Sterile Compounding?

Any pharmacy that performs compounding must do so in a safe and sterile environment. If drugs are not handled safely, the medications can become contaminated and potentially cause serious issues in patients.

Who Regulates Compounding Pharmacies?

There are three agencies responsible for regulating compounding pharmacies: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a state board of pharmacy, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The FDA regulates the ingredients used to make the drugs; state boards of pharmacy ensure that the company is following state regulations for pharmacy practice; and the DEA makes sure that pharmacies manage controlled substances properly.

If there are any gaps in compounding pharmacy processes and procedures, it could mean huge legal complications, including shutdowns and fines.

Making sure that your pharmacy or the pharmacy your business works with is in compliance is a key part of legal protection in Florida. Contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm today to set up a consultation to get started.

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Bundled Medicare Services for Chiropractors

by admin on August 30, 2021 No comments

The use of, and billing of hot and cold packs in the chiropractic setting with Medicare patients is quite often misunderstood. More often than not it is overbilled, because it is difficult to appropriately establish appropriate rationale to prove medical necessity for this to be separately billed in the office. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has published this guidance for the proper use of the service:

“It is the position of the American Chiropractic Association that the work of hot/cold packs as described by CPT code 97010 is not included in the CMT codes 98940-43 in instances when moist heat or cryotherapy is medically necessary to achieve a specific physiological effect that is thought to be beneficial to the patient. Indications for the application of moist heat include, but are not limited to, relaxation of muscle spasticity, induction of local analgesia and general sedation, promotion of vasodilation and increase in lymph flow to the area. Indications for the application of cryotherapy include, but are not limited to, relaxation of muscle spasticity, induction of local analgesia and general sedation, promotion of vasodilation and increase of lymph flow to the area.”

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Everything About Florida Law Durable Medical Equipment

by admin on August 23, 2021 No comments

Healthcare businesses are often confused by Florida law regarding durable medical equipment, but the truth is that legal compliance and licensure is a simple process that can save home medical providers tens of thousands of dollars every year.

What Is Durable Medical Equipment?

Durable medical equipment is defined by Medicare as a piece of machinery that is used repeatedly for a medical purpose with an expected lifetime of at least three years.

Here are a few examples of durable medical equipment:

  • Hospital beds and air-fluidized beds
  • Wheelchairs, electric mobility machines, and lifts
  • Blood sugar monitors and test strips
  • CPAP devices and CPM machines
  • Crutches, walkers, and canes
  • Oxygen equipment

These are just a few of the types of equipment that fall under the “durable medical equipment” definition in the state of Florida. If you believe that any equipment that your business provides to patients falls under the more general definition, reach out to Florida Healthcare Firm to find out what you need to do to protect your business from regulation violations.

What Florida Laws Pertain to Durable Medical Equipment?

One of the first Florida laws related to durable medical equipment is that the healthcare business that rents or provides this equipment to patients must be licensed to do so by the state. One license is needed for each location. In Florida, many doctors and chiropractors that provide durable medical equipment to patients for in-home use also require HME licensure.

What Is the Florida Law of Return of Durable Medical Equipment?

There are a number of laws regarding the disposal of durable medical equipment in Florida — laws that protect the environment by demanding recycling and upcycling when possible.

In most cases, healthcare businesses are not allowed to dump durable medical equipment in the landfill. Florida has strict laws about the disposal of home medical equipment, and violators are charged with stiff fines.

What Is the Penalty for Violating These Florida Laws?

In Florida, healthcare businesses that violate laws on durable medical equipment face hefty fines and fees on top of legal costs.

For example, if you rent or sell durable medical equipment without proper licensure, it is punishable by a fine of $500 to $1000, and each day that the equipment is rented out is identified as a separate offense. Over the course of years, this could add up to millions of dollars.

Is Your Business in Violation of Durable Medical Equipment Laws in Florida?

If your business ever rents or sells home medical equipment to patients, it is a good idea to have all your processes and protocols reviewed by a healthcare law firm that can ensure that you are in compliance, starting with proper licensure.

Contact Florida Healthcare Firm today to find out how to protect your business from legal fines and fees related to violation of Florida durable medical equipment laws.

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Florida Business Licenses: What to Know

by admin on August 20, 2021 No comments

Before opening your doors for business, each city and county in Florida requires some type of business license (commonly called, Business Tax Receipts, or Occupational Licenses) and fee paid. The process is different in every city and county, but doing it wrong can delay the opening of your business for months.

Generally, you have to wait until your space is near complete with construction in order to start applying for city licenses. City licenses typically have to be acquired first before going to the county. City licenses could take up to 60 days to obtain, but most are provided within 30 days. In fact, many are able to provide a temporary license the same day you submit your license application. In some cases, you’ll need to bring medical director licenses (if you’re not a physician or APRN yourself), corporate documents, fictitious name filings, and even evidence of closed permits.

Once the city license is granted, you must take that to the county to apply for the county license. Each county has different requirements, but they’re generally similar to city requirements. These can also take between 30-60 days, but are also granted the same day in most cases.

While the process sounds simple, in many cases the city and county are unaware of healthcare related laws such as supervision, ownership, and the types of healthcare businesses.

 

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