Positioning Your Dental Practice for Sale

by admin on March 10, 2022 No comments

Thinking about selling your dental practice is a major career step which cannot be treated lightly. 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. The process of preparing your dental practice for sale should start months in advance so you can address any issues early and prior to having a purchase agreement in place.

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. You should also meet with a practice consultant that can help re-organize the practice and its flow. An experienced healthcare business attorney can help restructure corporations, contract key employees, prepare a fair market value lease agreement, and even begin to draft key terms for the sale.

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Memory Care Unit Has Unique Legal Risks

by admin on March 10, 2022 No comments

Many of the risks seen in Memory Care are the same risks that arise in skilled nursing and assisted living.  However, there are unique legal risks inherent in the provision of memory care services that leadership should not ignore.  While this article is not an exhaustive list of those risks, some of the often-overlooked enhanced risks are identified below.

By: Karen Davila

Memory Care in the CCC

The existence of a Memory Care Unit allows residents to remain in the CCC longer, but the risks of caring for those individuals increases substantially.  Memory Care services are generally provided in a secure (“closed”) unit with staff with specialized trained to understand the unique needs of residents with dementia.  Risks are different from those elsewhere in the CCC in part due to (a) the geographic and physical isolation (restricted ingress/egress) that are common for Memory Care Units; and (b) the unique capabilities and vulnerabilities of residents, rendering them unable to comply with safety guidance and participate meaningfully in analysis of any adverse event.  Because of this, leadership should recognize and attempt to mitigate risks associated with falls, elopements, aggressive/disruptive behaviors, infectious disease, adequacy of staff training, and 24/7 staff supervision, among others.  Additional thoughts and considerations on each of these are discussed below.

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Controlled Substances Dispensing Gets Pharmacy in Trouble – AGAIN!

by admin on March 9, 2022 No comments

Yet another pharmacy owner was just convicted of unlawfully dispensing over 1.5 million doses of controlled substances, primarily oxycodone and hydrocodone. 

By: Karen Davila

In my last couple of articles, I’ve focused on the controls necessary to safely operate a pharmacy and dispense appropriate prescribed medications, including controlled substances.  And those of you who heed that kind of advice are likely to avoid the unwanted attention of law enforcement.  However, for those who continue to think they can operate with impunity, heads’ up:  the war against opioids in the U.S. is ongoing and enforcement activities are not slowing down.  Below is an article about this recent case out of Texas and some lessons we can all take away from what was reported.

In this most recent case, a federal jury in Texas convicted a Texas pharmacy owner (Carr) on March 7 of one count of conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and dispense controlled substances, four counts of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled substances, one count of conspiracy to launder money, and two counts of engaging in transactions in property obtained from the illicit activity.  Carr now faces up to 140 years in prison, among other consequences.

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What Is the Baker Act?

by admin on March 5, 2022 No comments

Helping family members to better care for their loved ones struggling with mental illnesses is the primary goal of the Baker Act.

If you are trying to connect your loved one with mental health treatment, this piece of legislation is designed to give you the tools to do that — even if your loved one is refusing to get treatment due to the nature of their mental illness.

Baker Act

The Baker Act supports and encourages voluntary psychological treatment for individuals who need it but provides a means by which families of people with severe mental illness may be able to help them get care when their mental illness is stopping them from entering treatment.

Essentially, if your loved one is refusing treatment due to the symptoms of their mental illness — for example, they would be able to recognize the need for treatment if they were not living with that mental illness — the Baker Act makes it possible for family members to involuntarily connect them with treatment.

What Are the Requirements of the Baker Act in Florida?

This law is designed primarily to protect the patient, helping them to get the treatment they need to heal even if the very illness they need treatment for makes them think that they don’t need care.

First, it must be proven or clear that the individual has a mental illness. Next, the reason that the person is refusing to get treatment must be because of their mental illness, either because they cannot reason through the issue or because their illness is such that they feel they do not need to get better.

Lastly, it must also be shown that the person will suffer harm if they do not get the treatment they need. That is, some evidence that they will hurt themselves or others may be required by the judge.

Note: The Baker Act does not apply to those who are struggling with substance abuse issues, developmental disabilities, or who exhibit antisocial behaviors.

What Happens After the Baker Act?

If you are able to use the Baker Act to help you connect your loved one with the mental health intervention they need, the hope is that they will be able to get help afterward. This will be contingent upon a number of factors, however, including the resources of the family to pay for treatment, the availability of treatment (such as openings or beds in a facility), and whether or not treatment is effective the first time around.

Do You Need Help Utilizing the Baker Act?

Learn more about how we can help you invoke the Baker Act to support your loved one when you contact us at Florida Healthcare Law Firm today.

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Getting the Vax Facts

by admin on February 28, 2022 No comments

By: Dave Davidson

Despite two years of COVID and a year’s worth of vaccinations, there remains some confusion over the privacy of an employee’s vaccination status.  As a healthcare employer, are you permitted to ask your employees if they’re vaccinated?  Do you breach the Health Information Protection and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in doing so?  The quick answers to those questions are: it’s OK for an employer to ask; and as long as the inquiry is made to the employee (and not to a third party or sought from medical records), the employer probably hasn’t violated HIPAA.

First, let’s address HIPAA applicability in general.  As a health care attorney, HIPAA is an integral part of my “filter” in providing legal analysis.  However, it surprises me when I hear people who work outside the health care arena claim HIPAA protection over all kinds of information – and most recently, their COVID-19 vaccination status.  Those protections are from a much broader interpretation of the HIPAA protections than is actually provided.  In a nutshell, HIPAA applies to health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers (along with their business associates).  Unless an employer falls into one of those categories, HIPAA does not play a role.  Nevertheless, health care employers who have employees who are also patients, or employees who have provided Protected Health Information (PHI) to their employer cannot just shrug off their HIPAA obligations when it comes to vaccinations.  PHI must always be safeguarded in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

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Emergency Rule Facilitates Medication-Assisted Treatment in Florida

by admin on February 24, 2022 No comments

Effective immediately, Florida’s Department of Children and Families promulgated an emergency rule with the hope of facilitating Medication-Assisted Treatment for those suffering from opioid use disorders. The crisis in Florida has been devastating. Deaths and overdoses due to opioid use in the state has increased by 37% percent over the past three years.

The emergency rule facilitates Medication-Assisted Treatment by modifying the clinical and operational standards that would otherwise apply; specifically, the emergency rule:

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DME Scheme of Greed Knows No Bounds

by admin on February 22, 2022 No comments

Durable Medical EquipmentBy: Susan St. John

In yet another take-down of an illicit scheme to defraud the Medicare Program and ChampVA, as well as other insurers, Patsy Truglia has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. He has also had assets forfeited since these assets were acquired with money from his ill-gotten fraud scheme. In total, Mr. Truglia and his co-conspirators collected approximately $18.5 million from Medicare, ChampVA, and insurance using a scheme of telemarketing, telemedicine, and multiple DME providers or “store fronts.”

The scheme used telemarketers to collect beneficiaries personal and medical information to create orders for DME products such as knee, back, and wrist braces. These orders were then provided to telemedicine practitioners for signature – often without a valid telehealth communication. In essence, there was no attempt at having a practitioner exercise independent judgment as to the medical necessity of these DME products. Instead, these practitioners were paid for their signatures on the pre-filled order forms as part of the “scheme of greed.” From January 2018 to 2019, this scheme of greed resulted in approximately $12 million in payment to Truglia and his co-conspirators.

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Controlled Substances Policies Help Identify Risks Before the DEA Comes Knocking

by admin on February 21, 2022 No comments

Today’s Pharmacy Law Topic:  Did you know that your controlled substances policies should be protecting your pharmacy and helping you identify risks before the DEA comes knocking?

By: Karen Davila

As I’ve said in earlier articles, controlled substances are a big part of the business and create significant risks faced by retail pharmacies.  But many of those risks can be mitigated through written policies and procedures and consistent adherence to those policies and procedures.  These are the first line of defense and one of the most important strategies to identify and mitigate the risk of regulatory enforcement action before the DEA comes knocking.

Regardless of the size of your pharmacy, you should have written policies and procedures addressing the core requirements of both federal and state law.  Below is a list of essential controlled substances policies relating to inventory controls, dispensing and destruction/reverse distribution.  Although not an exhaustive list, these are key to decreasing the myriad risks inherent in stocking and dispensing controlled substance prescriptions.

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Florida Medical License Renewal

by admin on February 17, 2022 No comments

In the state of Florida, medical professionals are required to renew their licenses every two years.

The idea is to ensure that the individual is still capable of performing their job, remains current on training and other relevant certifications, and has no outstanding issues in terms of investigations or job performance.

The medical license renewal process in Florida is relatively simple in most cases, but if there are any outstanding issues or unresolved questions, it can take some maneuvering to finalize the renewal.

Keep It Simple: Renew Your Florida Medical License Online and Early

As long as you do not have to change the status of your license, your license status is not “Military, Active,”, “Delinquent, Active,” or “Delinquent, Inactive,” you should not have a problem renewing your license online. Simply follow the link for your profession on the Florida Board of Medicine website to complete the process online.

Additionally, if you choose to renew your medical license in Florida before it expires, you have the benefits of getting the lowest fee options available.

Should you attempt to renew your license after your license expires, the fee can more than double, and if you try to new your Florida medical license more than 120 days after expiration, at which point you are considered Notified Delinquent, the fee can rise another 25 percent.

Requirements for Renewing Via a Florida Medical License by Mail

If you’re “Military, Active,” need to change your name on your license, need to change your status, or need to pay with a check or cashier’s check rather than a credit card, you can apply for medical license renewal by mail.

All the same dates and deadlines apply, so it’s important to keep that in mind when you choose the timing to mail the application for renewal, leaving enough time for it to arrive in advance of the deadline.

Florida Medical License Renewal Requirements

Whether you file online or by mail, you will need the correct forms, fully filled out and signed, as well as the required fee, including late fees if applicable.

However, if your status is currently “Delinquent, Active” or “Delinquent, Inactive,” your process will be slightly more complex.

You will need to contact the Florida Board of Medicine to discuss the details of your case and what is required of you going forward. Depending on the issue causing your status disruption, you may need to take classes, acquire referral letters, work with a mentor, or provide other services.

If you have already completed the requirements necessary to clear your status and renew your medical license, it may be just a matter of documenting your compliance to move forward.

Help With Medical License Renewal in Florida

If you are running up against obstacles getting your medical license renewed in Florida and you need help, reach out to Florida Healthcare Law Firm today and find out how we can help you expedite the process.

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Reducing Risks in CCCs with Personal Caregiver Handbooks

by admin on February 16, 2022 No comments

Developing a Personal Caregiver Handbook that spells out expectations and accountabilities of both the resident hiring the caregiver as well as the caregiver is one of the best defenses to issues of liability that may arise.  But where do you start in building out the Handbook?  Here are some key considerations as well as areas that should be covered in the Handbook:

Prior to Developing Handbook

Because the CCC’s relationship with its residents is governed by each resident’s agreement and any move-in documents that accompanied that agreement, it is important first to review those documents to determine if there are any barriers to implementation.  Because each resident contract might be different, this process might require review of all versions in effect for any current residents.

Assuming the resident contracts do not require any additional steps before rolling out such a program, the CCC can move to the drafting of the Personal Caregiver Handbook.

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