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What Is an Apology Law in Medical Malpractice?

March 21st, 2022 by

Saying “I’m sorry” to a patient shouldn’t hurt your career.

This, essentially, is the primary directive of apology laws or statutes across the country: to stop a patient from using an apology from a medical provider against them in a court of law as grounds for a malpractice suit.

The idea is to grow a more honest and open conversation between patient and doctor, and to ensure that the patient has all the information possible about their medical care.

In some states, Florida included, the law is taken a step farther, requiring medical care professionals to not only inform their patients of all incidents that resulted in their harm but also to do so in person.

What Are the Apology Laws by State?

Not all states have apology laws, but Florida does.

Florida Statute 90.4026 states that an expression of condolences or sympathy by a medical professional should not be used as grounds for a malpractice suit.

This law means that it’s okay for a doctor to empathize with a patient when they experience a negative outcome after medical care or intervention. They can say, “I’m sorry this happened to you,” without that statement constituting an admission of guilt in a court of law.

However, Florida makes it clear that if a “benevolent gesture” is accompanied by an admission of wrongdoing or fault then that statement in its entirety can be used in a malpractice suit.

Additionally, while the Florida Statute does not require a doctor to apologize or express sympathy or condolences, it does require them to report to the patient any level of harm that resulted from medical treatment.

For example, if internal sutures during a surgery were not done correctly and caused internal bleeding, the doctor would be required to let the patient know rather than just ignore the situation.

When Would the Apology Law Come Into Play?

If a doctor discovers after the fact that there was more information available about the patient’s condition and that information would have altered their choices, the doctor might apologize to the patient for the choices they made medically that resulted in harm to the patient. If that apology comes with an admission of wrongdoing, then that apology would be admissible in court as evidence supporting the patient’s case.

However, if that apology did not include an admission of fault, the patient will be required to depend on other evidence of malpractice if they believe that malpractice or negligence was indeed the cause of harm.

How Does the Apology Law Impact You?

If you are dealing with the apology law in a malpractice suit, reach out to the Florida Healthcare Law Firm for assistance. We can help you address the situation and move toward a speedy resolution. Call now.

What Is the Baker Act?

March 5th, 2022 by

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.

Evaluating Hidden Pitfalls in Contracts

September 13th, 2021 by

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

Starting a Hormone Replacement Therapy Business

July 15th, 2021 by

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and other similar “body hacking” treatments have expanded significantly over the years. With more and more people choosing alternative treatments to common ailments, these practices have experienced explosive growth in response to the demand. But what does it take to open one of these businesses and how risky can it be?

  1. Understanding the Regulations

    1.  Healthcare businesses, especially in Florida, are heavily regulated. Even as a typically cash-only business, owners must stay aware of the ever-changing regulations. First, Florida and Federal anti-kickback laws affect cash-only businesses in regard to patient referrals. They also apply to laboratory referrals. Florida law has additional regulations against physician ownership in certain entities. In this case, ownership in an HRT business and a lab or pharmacy that you refer to could put you in violation of a number of Florida and Federal laws. While many HRT businesses offer other treatments that are not just hormones, the big draw is hormones, which are considered controlled substances. Prescribing controlled substances requires certain patient evaluation standards, prescribing standards, and pharmacy standards.
  2. Corporate Structure

    1. A company is considered a legal entity and recognized by both the IRS and the State. Depending on the number of owners and type of business, different options exist regarding entity type. Specifically, most healthcare businesses choose a limited liability company, corporation or a professional association, depending on the type of owner. Once you choose the appropriate type of entity, you’ll want to meet with your CPA to discuss taxation of the entity and how that affects the owners personally. Equally as important as choosing the right entity is ensuring that all corporate documents are appropriately buttoned up and protecting the owners.
  3. Licensure

    1. As a business owner, you’ll need additional business, state, county, and city government licensure to do business. Florida has many counties, each with different rules. You may need local tax licenses depending upon your offerings and services as well. In addition to business licenses, you will need to either maintain a Florida medical license or contract a physician to treat patients.
  4. Operations Planning

    1. Starting a successful practice begins months before with business planning. Develop a business plan for financing purposes, gather information regarding day-to-day operations, explore different financing options, develop a practice culture, assess bringing on any partners, and other practice considerations. You will also want to ensure that all of your patient and staffing policies are well thought out and comprehensive.
  5. Trademarks and Branding

    1. People recognize businesses by their logos, name, service, or specialists. Protecting your brand is just as important as building your business. Utilizing Federal or State trademark protections is just one method of building and creating your brand. This is at least a six (6) month process, so the earlier you evaluate your intellectual property, the better.
  6. Corporate Compliance

    1. Once you’ve built the foundations of your new practice, protecting its assets should be high on your priority list.
    2. In a high-earning business, you want to take all the necessary steps to ensure your business looks like and functions as an entity separate from yourself individually. With partners, the right agreements and actions will ensure that the company is treated as a legitimate entity.

While these are some of the biggest considerations, there are many more to opening and operating a successful HRT business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Ways a Florida Medical License Attorney Can Save Your Practice

April 9th, 2021 by

Chances are, you hope you’ll never need the help of a Florida medical license lawyer. You just want to serve your patients with dignity and honor, without ever taking a break to deal with a lawsuit or legal complaint.

Unfortunately, even with the best Florida physician malpractice insurance program available, you may need legal help to save your business.

Here are just three ways in which a Florida medical license lawyer could help you:

1. Prevent Common Problems

Medical errors are unfortunately common. More than 250,000 deaths due to medical errors happen in the United States each year. Some aren’t preventable, but others are.

You may experience moments of uncertainty, where a choice could cause an error. A Florida medical license attorney might help if you’re dealing with:

  • Contract issues. Are you working long hours with no breaks? Is a lack of sleep impacting your work?
  • Interpersonal problems. Is workplace harassment impacting your ability to care for patients?
  • Licensing concerns. Are you able to attend continuing education classes to stay abreast of the latest developments?

Addressing any of these issues could keep common malpractice issues from occurring.

2. Represent Your Interests in Court

If you are facing a case, you’ll need a Florida medical license attorney more than ever. The consequences can be severe.

For example, one Florida pharmacist faced penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A lawyer could help defend you in a case like this and ensure you’re not punished for something you just didn’t do.

3. Clear Your Name

Plenty of websites allow consumers to search for malpractice claims against doctors. Presumably, the sites allow these patients to get better, safer care. As a doctor, they can ruin your reputation.

A talented medical license lawyer can work hard to defend your good name, so a frivolous lawsuit won’t stall your practice for a lifetime.

At Florida Healthcare Law Firm, we have a team of talented lawyers waiting to help you. Contact us to find out more.

3 Types of Transactions That Require a Business Law Lawyer

April 6th, 2021 by

Business law lawyers play an important role in protecting healthcare organizations. Through their work and expertise, lawyers ensure that executives make their concerns and demands well known. And lawyers also ensure that contracts are solid and clear, so everyone knows what to expect.

While a business law lawyer could help you with almost any type of problem, three issues tend to dominate our work at Florida Healthcare Law Firm.

3 Common Changes We Handle

When you’re working as a business law lawyer in Florida, you’re typically dealing with dozens of different clients with unique wants, needs, and capabilities. But strip away superficialities, and these clients tend to struggle with the same types of issues.

In our office, our business law lawyer team typically helps healthcare organizations with:

  1. Acquisitions. Imagine this: You’ve just read about small pharmacies getting squeezed due to changes in Florida Blue plans. You’d like to buy one of these businesses. A business law lawyer could help you draft up an enticing and enforceable offer.
  2. Partnership shifts. You started your business with a co-owner, and now that person wants to retire. A lawyer could help you craft an exit strategy and draw up new paperwork to change ownership legally.
  3. Mergers. In healthcare, these deals are often huge. For example, the Teledoc and Livongo merger was worth $18.3 billion. A business law lawyer could ensure no mistakes are made in these high-stakes deals.

How to Work With a Business Law Lawyer

A legal professional is there to advise, guide, and protect you. Everything you share is protected. Hire someone you trust, so you can disclose documents and trade secrets freely without worry of theft or retaliation.

In addition to open communication, business law lawyers in Florida appreciate your discretion. If a lawyer is handling your case, don’t talk with the other party or the press. Let your team protect you and do the work you’ve hired them for.

If you’re ready to work with a discrete, professional team of business law lawyers in Florida, contact us at Florida Healthcare Law Firm. We work exclusively within the healthcare field, and we’re ready to start now. Contact us.

Health Care Clinics Targeted For Medical Director Requirements

February 9th, 2021 by

By: Zach Simpson

There have been a rise in cases recently, in which practices that operate under a Health Care Clinic License have been brought under scrutiny by insurance companies trying to recoup funds through any means possible. In an effort to claw back funds insurance companies are beginning to claim that medical directors are failing to meet their statutory obligations under Florida Law which in turn can have serious monetary repercussions. Due to the clinics allegedly failing to meet their statutory obligations the insurance companies are filing suit to recoup any payments made while violating the Health Care Clinic Act obligations, and to stall any future payments due until such cases are heard.

By law, a medical director must be a health care practitioner that holds an active and unencumbered Florida license as a medical physician, osteopathic physician, chiropractic physician, or podiatric physician. The type of services provided at a clinic may dictate who would be able to serve as a clinic’s medical director, because a medical director must be authorized under the law to supervise all services provided at the clinic.

read more

A Business Law Lawyer in Florida: A Healthcare Organization’s Best Friend

February 9th, 2021 by

business law lawyer floridaDon’t face legal challenges alone. A business law lawyer can help you address problems head on, and together, you can craft programs to help you avoid future headaches. Learn how.

Far too many healthcare organizations believe they can head off legal challenges (or prevent them from cropping up in the first place) without the help of a business law lawyer. 

As one of the top firms offering business law lawyers in Florida, we’re here to tell you this just isn’t true. 

Every healthcare organization deserves competent, qualified legal counsel. Those that invest in help tend to experience far fewer complications than their counterparts do. 

Let us explain. 

3 Cringeworthy Medical Law Examples 

A business law lawyer is concerned with the ins and outs of the way you run your organization. The details may seem small and insignificant. But get them wrong, and the consequences can be severe.

Here are three recent examples any executive would be wise to study:

  1. Data sharing: A medical center in Chicago formed a partnership with Google to explore how technology could uncover hidden medical conditions. Patients allege that the documentation shared violated their privacy. 
  2. Crisis management: A hospital in Iowa faced many different lawsuits coming right after the other. The team allegedly attempted to bury the news, which became a reputation problem. 
  3. Employee spending: A hospital in Kentucky held back money from paychecks to cover health insurance premiums. Officials allegedly used the money for other purposes. 

In some of these examples, a business law lawyer could have averted disaster. In others, counsel could clean up the mess and prevent future problems. 

How to Hire a Business Law Lawyer 

Plenty of legal professionals specialize in the details of corporate affairs. But medical teams need a little bit more. The rules and regulations that surround healthcare are obtuse, and an expert can do more than a novice. 

If you need help from a business law lawyer in Florida, consider our firm. We have decades of combined experience in serving hospitals, health plans, and other affiliated clinics. We’d love to talk with you. 

Forward Looking: How to Prepare for 2021

November 24th, 2020 by

fhlfhealthcarebusinesslawBy: Chase Howard

With 2020 coming to a close, and COVID-19 still very much a concern for businesses, there are a number of things for healthcare businesses and practices to consider before the New Year.

Here’s a list of items to review:

read more

This Florida Healthcare Law Firm Can Spare You from Legal Headaches

November 23rd, 2020 by

Florida Healthcare Law FirmFor physicians who are overwhelmed with legal issues this year, the outstanding attorneys at florid healthcare law firm will simplify even the most complex issues and spare you from unnecessary stress and financial burden.

Let’s face it…2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the overwhelming medical-related issues faced by hospitals, physicians, dentists, practices and facilities throughout the country. Every decision you make as a medical professional now has additional ramifications. The consequences are daunting. Don’t waste precious time and money trying to navigate this field of legal headaches alone. At Florida Healthcare Law Firm we can guide you, advise you and ensure that all of your legal matters are handled with expert care. Why? The answer is simple: We don’t dabble in medical legal matters; we specialize in them. With more than 150 years’ collective experience, our expert team is ready to help with every type of medical-related business. From Covid-19 legalities, telemedicine and telehealth—which are hot issues right now—to managed care contracts, treatment center start-ups, selling or buying a practice, defense against a ZPIC audit, hiring and firing or interpretation of standard policies and procedures, we’re there for you every step of the way.

When you meet with a Florida Healthcare Law attorney, you’re guaranteed the best in the business—custom consultations with you, the client, in mind. After all, we’re the state’s first and only boutique legal business, so you get the service you want. We’ve helped small practices, $90 mammoth facilities, urban centers, rural hospitals, pharmacies, laboratories, durable medical equipment companies and ambulatory surgical centers. We’ve successfully negotiated financial raises and taken care of licensure, certification and accreditation issues. Why use up your time better spent with patients when you can schedule a complimentary appointment with our seasoned legal team and discuss your needs? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, especially with our flat-fee pricing and a money-back guarantee. Lower your legal stress level this year; it’s one positive thing you can do to manage your medical business during this difficult time. Contact the professionals at Florida Healthcare Law Firm today.