Category:

If you are facing a healthcare regulatory compliance audit make sure that you are well represented by an experienced attorney. These matters are nothing to be overly worried about but it’s always a good idea to make sure you have all your bases covered. Working with a team of lawyers is the best way to ensure you get a favorable outcome while eliminating frustration and headache. Running a medical business isn’t easy as there are more rules and regulations you have to follow than with other businesses. However, that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone as you will get the support you need from the best legal team in Florida.

At Florida Health Care Law Firm we have worked with clients in all areas of the medical field and handled many cases involving healthcare regulatory compliance audit and more. When you work with our team, you will have the full support of our services. That means if you have questions regarding opening a treatment center, implementing policies and procedures, selling or buying a business or anything else, you will have the full support of our team. Visit us today to learn more and meet with a lawyer who can assist you.

A healthcare regulatory compliance audit is not something you want to take lightly. While you may not have done anything wrong, the fact is that your business is about to be put under review and that needs to be taken seriously. When this happens, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Where can I get facts? One of the things we all continue to do is to go online and check out websites and blogs to get “facts.” These sites don’t provide real facts because even if the information is correct, it may not apply to us. That’s why you need to speak with an attorney who can get you the right information you need in order to make the best possible decisions.
  • Do I need an attorney? Going into an audit, you may or may not need the help of a lawyer. It’s difficult to say but one thing is for certain, you should speak with a lawyer before the meeting to know whether or not you will need one as well as to get legal advice that can help you during the case.
  • What about other issues? Once completed you do not want this matter to become a recurring one. That’s why it’s always smart to work with a legal team that can assist you in these matters as well as others. Whether you are opening up a call center, selling a practice, hiring a new physician or anything else, it’s a matter of convenience and peace of mind that you are able to get real help when you need it.

At the Florida Health Care Law Firm our team is standing by to assist you with any healthcare regulatory compliance audit matters you may need assistance with. Be sure to call us today for more information and find out what your legal options are.

Home Health Acquisitions On the Run

September 15th, 2020 by

Home health acquisitions private equity transactionBy: Jeff Cohen

Home health agencies everywhere have become the favorite targeted acquisitions of “the financial world.”  Apparently, there is one seminar that every buyer attended convincing buyers or all kinds (buyers with money, buyers without money, buyers in the private equity space) that:

  1. HHAs are ripe for aggregation because the industry is disaggregated; and
  2. HHA owners lack business sophistication necessary to bring their businesses to the “next level.”

Unfortunately, some of the buyers lack any true industry experience and are looking at acquisition targets solely from a financial perspective.  They’re looking principally at business financials and nothing else.  And, worse yet, they’re not focused on the centrality of operational expertise.  All of which can come crushing down on the head of seller financed acquisitions.  In other words, if the buyer is paying the purchase price over time, the seller is effectively financing the transaction because the purchase proceeds are (in theory) coming from seller operational profits. This may make the transaction possible, but operations will ensure company profitability and growth, which is gonna drive seller interest.

So what?  A lot!  As current HHA owners know, the secret sauce is in not financial analytics.  It’s in the operations!  And the financial due diligence is just a part of the equation. What about regulatory due diligence? What about knowing where the bodies are buried (legally speaking)?  What are the payer relationships?  What are the marketing relationships?  What is really driving the business?  Who is the key reason why the HHA is successful?  It is typically one or two people.  And missing that or retiring them is a recipe for disaster for buyers and seller financed sellers.  As is missing illegal payments made to induce patient referrals, which can shut down even a completed transaction in a heartbeat.  None of this is part of the usual [financial] due diligence!

Lawyers might say “Yeah, but there will be plenty or reps and warranties to cover the transaction. And the indemnification sections will be tight.” So what?  The buyer doesn’t want a pig in a poke.  They want a reliable and growing income stream.  Details matter.  Especially the details both buyers and sellers are missing!

Further, if a buyer thinks they can buy an HHA on the cheap (1) without proper due diligence, (2) with lawyers waiting to get paid if the transaction closes and funds, and (3) with heavy seller financing, think again.  If you’re dealing with a buyer with pockets (or you have pockets) and will spend the right money on proper due diligence, the right (and experienced) marketing and management, have at it!  The HHA industry is ripe for aggregation.  But doing it in “the new way” isn’t new at all.  It’s just defective and a recipe for lots of heartache…and litigation.

Real buyers love due diligence. They love to measure twice (three times is even better!) and cut once.  They love either understanding the business they’re buying or buying the operational talent.  And they understand and embrace the notion of putting hard money to work.  They don’t try to buy something for nothing or find lawyers who don’t have enough work to do who are willing to work for free.  Real buyers are not trying to get something for nothing.  And they don’t allow a financial flow focus to blind them to the daily “wax on; wax off” aspects of the business.  Doing so would disappoint both sellers and buyer investors.

It’s great to see so much activity in the HHA space.  But the ones that win and stay will only be the ones that do it the old fashioned away—They’ll Earn It!

What’s All This Talk About 340B Discount Drug Programs?

September 8th, 2020 by

340B Discount Drug ProgramBy: Jackie Bain

There has been so much in the news lately about 340B Discount Drug Programs and the fraud that accompanies them.

The 340B Discount Drug Program allows manufacturers participating in Medicaid to agree to provide outpatient drugs to certain designated clinics and hospitals at significantly reduced prices. The typical discount ranges from 30% to 50% off the drug’s list price. In turn those clinics/hospitals are able to reach more high-risk, high-need patients and provide more comprehensive services. Each designated clinic/hospital involved in the program is called a “covered entity.”

Covered entities may provide drugs purchased through the 340B Discount Drug Program to all eligible patients of that covered entity, regardless of a patient’s payer status. In order to be a “patient” of a specific covered entity, an individual (1) must have an established relationship with the covered entity such that the covered entity maintains records of the individual’s care; and (2) must receive care from a professional employed by or contracted with the covered entity such that responsibility for the care remains with the covered entity. Under the guidelines, an individual is not considered a patient of the covered entity if the individual only is dispensed a drug for the patient to take at home. read more

Patient Brokering & Money Laundering: Bieda Arrests Raise Serious Issues

September 1st, 2020 by

patient brokering arrest treatment center toxicology lab ownershipThree family members involved in owning an addiction treatment center and/or a toxicology lab were charged in July with patient brokering and money laundering in an alleged scheme involving roughly $2 Million.  The allegations arise out of a complex corporate enterprise involving at least four companies and some common ownership between the treatment center and lab.  While it’s premature to assume that the defendants did anything illegal, there are some interesting things in this case:

Complexity Invites Suspicion.  Every business owner in the addiction treatment and toxicology lab space knows three things:  (1) it’s extremely regulated, (2) law enforcement has an especially sharpened focus on these industries, and (3) insurance companies are very suspect of any situation involving either industry, especially when there is any common ownership.  So why then would one construct an enterprise that even “looks” complex or tricky?  It intensifies suspicion in an already highly scrutinized business space.  This is clearly one of the points of focus in this case.  There’s an old saying woven into the mind of every experienced healthcare lawyer:  if something can’t be done directly, it can’t be done indirectly.  Time will tell if anything in this case was wrong or if there are any good reasons for the corporate structure, but the complexity of the corporate structure certainly invites suspicion. read more

Physician Owned Hospitals Looming Large in Florida

June 4th, 2020 by

physician owned hospitalsBy: Jeff Cohen

Florida may become the “next Texas” on the issue of physician owned specialty hospitals.  “Next Texas,” since there are a number of examples where the concept launched (and also flopped).  Done right, such facilities could be a better fit for many patients, depending of course on patient co morbidity issues.  In theory, they would be the perfect bridge between surgery centers and regular acute care hospitals.  But the ability of such specialty focused care suggests a better staffing model and more targeted and efficient overhead, instead of the broad-based overhead of an acute care hospital at is spread out aver all cases, including those where overhead allocation is viewed as “just an expense.” read more

Buying a Dental Practice

February 11th, 2020 by

buying a dental practiceBy: Chase Howard

Those in the practice of dentistry today have many options when it comes to building a practice. Should you work for an employer? Build your own? What about buy a practice? More and more, we see young dentists wishing to avoid private equity and buying out a retiring dentist’s practice. The amount of regulation imposed upon those entering into the dental practice arena can be staggering. Further, buying a dental practice requires many considerations that are unique to other areas of business. Understanding the purchase process will help protect your investment and could keep you from experiencing any unnecessary liability.

First, organize a team of specialized dental experts, such as a dental CPA, Professional Practice Lender, dental law attorney, and a practice consultant. Having a team of professionals guide you through all aspects of the deal will keep you on track, avoid potential issues, accomplish specific task items, and properly comply with any legal considerations. read more

Modifier 25 Requirements for Avoiding Potential Billing Fraud

February 7th, 2020 by

modifier 25By: Dave Davidson

On February 4, 2020, the Department of Justice announced a $1.5 million settlement with Southeastern Retina Associates, a 17 physician practice, with offices in Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia.  The sole basis of the claim was the alleged misuse of the Modifier 25 billing code and charging for exams at higher levels than warranted.  The claim was initiated by a whistleblower, who will receive $270,000 from the settlement.

Use and potential abuse of Modifier 25 is obviously not unique to retina surgeons.  In fact, the modifier can be very beneficial to providers, since it allows for payment for those patient visits when the care provided exceeds the scope of the scheduled appointment.  However, given the potential for abuse and the many watchful eyes of the government (the Southeastern Retina case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the HHS Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the FBI, and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office) and wannabe whistleblowers, a periodic review of a provider’s billing practices is always a good idea. read more

CMS Hospital Price Transparency Requirements

November 19th, 2019 by

hospital price transparencyBy: Karina Gonzalez

On November 15, 2019 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule requiring hospitals to publicly disclose “standard charges, including payer-specific negotiated rates for items and services. Hospitals will be required to comply by January 1, 2021. The proposed rule is subject to 60 days of comment.

The final rule requires hospitals to make public in a machine-readable file online all standard charges (including gross charges, discounted cash prices, payer-specific negotiated charges) for all hospital items and services.  It requires hospitals to de-identify minimum and maximum negotiated charges for at least 300 “shoppable” services. read more

DMEPOS Round 2021 Competitive Bidding: Potential Pitfalls

March 27th, 2019 by

2021 competitive biddingBy: Matt Fischer

With the 2021 competitive bidding round on the horizon for durable medical equipment (DME) providers, both those that are established as well as those fairly new to the industry must take note of the potential pitfalls that may be encountered when competing to become a Medicare contract supplier.

The durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program was first established by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003.  Under this program, DMEPOS suppliers submit bids (i.e. applications) and compete to furnish specific items in competitive bidding areas commonly referred to as CBAs.  Additionally, suppliers are not just bidding for the rights to a particular CBA but also for a single payment amount that will replace the current Medicare fee schedule payment.  The payment will be determined by using the bids submitted.  As of December 31, 2018, all contacts have expired.  As a result, there is currently a temporary gap period.  The upcoming bidding process is loaded with requirements.  Therefore, compliance with each requirement is crucial.  Here are a few pitfalls to watch out for:  read more

Law Enforcement Referrals by UPICs

March 26th, 2019 by

UPIC investigatorBy: Matt Fischer

CMS contractors such as Unified Program Integrity Contractors (UPICs) are tasked with ensuring that Medicare pays the right amount for covered services by legitimate providers.  Specifically, a UPIC’s main goal is to identify cases of suspected fraud, waste and abuse, and additionally, to take immediate administrative action to protect federal program funds.  Within its administrative action toolkit, apart from the common pre- or post-payment reviews and payment suspensions, UPICs have the ability to refer cases of potential fraud to law enforcement agencies. read more

EKRA and SUPPORT Act Impact: Legal Breakdown

March 11th, 2019 by

By: Susan St. John

Most everyone knows that laws are being implementing in federal and state government to address the opioid crisis in the US. One such law is the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act (“SUPPORT Act”) signed into law in October 2018 by President Trump. While the SUPPORT Act seeks to increase access to treatment for substance use disorders and prevention of substance use disorders, it also contains language to prevent abuse of the process to increase treatment access. Specifically, incorporated into the SUPPORT Act is the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (“EKRA”) which directly targets unlawful referrals to recovery homes, clinical treatment facilities, and laboratories.

EKRA is similar to prohibited kickbacks and patient brokering pursuant to Sections 456.054 and 817.505, Florida Statutes, using similar language as both Florida statutes. EKRA makes it unlawful… read more