How to File a Complaint Against a Doctor in Florida

April 20th, 2022 by

The Florida Department of Health is the regulatory agency responsible for protecting the public in the world of healthcare.

They require medical professionals of all kinds to attain a certain level of education in order to gain license to practice in the state. They further require medical professionals to maintain that licensure through ongoing education and a stellar record of patient care.

When one or both of these requirements are threatened, the professional may risk fines, imprisonment, loss of licensure, or a combination of these. This applies to professionals in every aspect of healthcare, from physicians and dentists to their support staff.

When a patient feels their doctor has violated their code of ethics or responsibility, they are encouraged to file a complaint with the state. The FDH will investigate these complaints and determine whether or not action is warranted. The process can be lengthy and tedious, and in some cases, legal counsel may be recommended.

How to File a Complaint Against a Doctor in Florida

In the state of Florida, patients, colleagues, and employees can easily file a complaint against an individual practitioner, a business, or both.

This process begins online, but depending on the nature of your complaint, you may be directed to the Florida Department of Health, Agency for Health Care Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Statewide Medicaid Managed Care, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or another agency to continue to process your complaint.

Where and how you file will depend on the focus of your complaint. For example, if you believe that your doctor is fraudulently charging or overcharging you for services, you may need to go to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

If you would like to file a complaint based on a HIPAA violation, you will have to file with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Each of these agencies has a different set of forms and procedures to follow as you go through the process.

Florida Medical Board Complaints

If you wish to file a complaint of malpractice with the Florida Medical Board, the process is especially tricky. They make it very clear that while they will investigate the matter and potentially levy fines or pull licensure, they will not represent any patients in civil matters.

Additionally, the process of filing is complex, and it is not always easy to know what should happen next or what is required of the complainant.

Florida Healthcare Law Firm Can Answer Your Questions

If you’ve had a complaint filed against you, the best thing to do is hire an attorney who can assist you. Choose a law firm that has experience with healthcare law specifically as these cases can get complex.

If you have questions related to healthcare law in Florida, contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm today for assistance.

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice In Florida

December 20th, 2021 by

Medical malpractice is devastating for both patient and the medical professional. There are some statutes in place in Florida that limit how long it is legally an option for a patient to pursue a medical malpractice case.

Timing is important in these situations, as is proof of negligence or error on the part of the medical professional.

Here’s what you need to know.

What Is the Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Florida?

The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice suit is two years from the date that the harm caused by malpractice was discovered or could reasonably be discovered, according to Florida Statute 95.11 (4)(b).

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Oftentimes, an injury caused by medical malpractice may not immediately come to light.

If the case involves an adult and was immediately obvious, there is a two-year statute of limitations.

In the event that the patient is an adult, and the injury was not immediately obvious, and also involved fraud or an attempt to conceal the problem by medical staff, the statute is extended two years from the time it is identified but no more than seven years from the incident that caused the harm.

If it is an adult as the patient, the injury was not immediately discoverable, and there was no attempt to conceal the issue by medical professionals, the statute is four years from discovery.

If the patient is a minor, every case is different. There are no hard guidelines in terms of statutes of limitations in Florida.

What Defines Medical Malpractice in Florida?

Not every case in which the outcome is negative will have legal basis for a malpractice suit. If the doctor followed industry standards and made no mistakes when performing a medical service and the outcome is negative, there is no case for malpractice.

Additionally, if a mistake is made during a medical procedure but there is no clear and lasting damage to the patient’s health and well-being as a result, there is no case for malpractice.

In order to be classified as medical malpractice in the state of Florida, there must be a clear professional patient-doctor relationship between the two people, the doctor must fail to do their duty through negligence or error, and there must be demonstrable harm or injury to the patient that is serious in nature.

I Need Assistance With a Medical Malpractice Suit

Florida Healthcare Law Firm is the only boutique law firm in Florida dedicated to helping medical professionals handle any and all legal issues, including the nuances of a medical malpractice suit.

Contact us today to set up a consultation and get the help you need.

House Physician License in Florida

December 6th, 2021 by

If you’re a house physician who has recently moved to Florida from out of state, or out of the country, it’s a good idea to get the ball rolling to get your medical license in Florida.

Many doctors move to Florida, a highly sought after location, with the intention to live and practice medicine. Rather than take a chance on the paperwork taking too long and getting in trouble for practicing without a license, it’s a good idea to reach out to Florida Healthcare Law Firm for help and get started now.

How Do I Get a House Physician License in Florida?

There are a couple of different ways to get your medical license in the state of Florida, according to the Florida Board of Medicine.

You can seek licensure by endorsement, as long as you have:

  • A degree from an Allopathic US Medical School of a school recognized and approved by the US Office of Education (AMG) as well as at least one year of residency,


  • A degree from an international medical school, passed both parts of the NBME or ECFMG exams, performed a year of supervised clinical training, and finished a 2+ year-long residency,


  • Passed all parts of the NBME, FLEX, or USMLE and have a medical license in another jurisdiction while practicing medicine for a minimum of two of the past four years, or passed a clinical competency exam approved by the board in the last year, or finished a postgrad training program within the last two years.

You can also seek licensure by examination.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Florida House Physician License?

It can take anywhere from three to six months once you have all the documentation in place and filed. A law firm can help the process to move much more quickly.

Where Can I Get Help Filing for My House Physician License in Florida?

Florida Healthcare Law Firm is a boutique law firm designed specifically to support medical professionals with all legal issues. We can assist you with the process of getting your house physician license in Florida. Call now to set up your initial consultation and get the process started.

Healthcare Law and Ethics

May 7th, 2021 by

What’s the relationship between law and ethics in healthcare? Medical students often get confused about these two topics. And their classes may not help. Many teachers use these terms interchangeably, and some course titles have both terms within them.

Law and ethics are two different things. And sometimes, medical professionals face situations in which the two concepts conflict.

The Role of Law and Ethics in Healthcare

Let’s start by defining our terms to make the connections and differences a little easier to unpack and understand.

Medical professionals deal with:

  • Laws. Government officials craft these doctrines, and they’re designed to protect citizens. Violate them and expect punishment. You’re expected to comply.
  • Ethics. These informal rules stem from your personal sense of right, wrong, and fairness. Ethics are infused by formal structures, including your government and your upbringing. But breaking them doesn’t typically come with an official punishment.

Both ethics and law in healthcare deal with behavior. But laws are minimum standards, and ethics are maximum standards.

How to Mediate Conflicts

While laws are influenced by ethics, the two can contradict one another in a healthcare setting.

Sometimes, your legal duties as a healthcare professional can conflict with your ethical responsibilities. The law may force you to do things your ethics just don’t condone. Or you may want to do something because it’s ethical, but the law isn’t on your side.

The best example involves capital punishment. The law requires doctors to participate, but ethical codes say doctors shouldn’t take life.

When you’re facing conflicts like this, working with a lawyer is crucial. Together, you can examine your options and find a path forward. Your lawyer may help you understand legal options to help you abide by your ethics. Or your lawyer may help you understand the legal implications of abiding by your ethics while breaking the law.

At Florida Healthcare Law Firm, we’re here to guide our clients into ethical, legal decisions. We can help you unpack thorny issues and make good decisions for your patients and your community. Contact us to get started.

Health Care Fraud Enforcement Got You Worried?

March 25th, 2021 by

healthcare fraud in 2020By: Karen Davila

Healthcare fraud continues to be a significant priority for the U.S. Department of Justice.  On February 24, 2021, the DOJ’s Criminal Division Fraud Section published its annual “Fraud Section Year in Review 2020.”  While the Fraud Section has three separate enforcement units, the Health Care Fraud (HCF) Unit is responsible for all enforcement activities in the health care industry.  The Unit’s focus is to protect against fraud and abuse in federal health care programs and recoup illicit gains.

During 2020, the HCF Unit operated 15 strike forces in 24 federal judicial districts throughout the U.S.  The efforts of these strike forces led to charges against 167 individuals alleging $3.77 billion in fraudulent charges for health care paid for by federal and state programs.  This should cause any health care provider to stand up and take notice.  And enforcement in the health care industry is not likely to go away soon with so many schemes ripe for the government’s picking and generating recoupment on behalf of the federal health care programs.

Here are couple of the latest schemes that have landed pharmacies, pharmacists and other health care professionals squarely in the crosshairs of federal enforcement:

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Company Model Scrutiny For Physicians After Daitch Case

December 11th, 2020 by

fhlf daitch caseBy: Jeff Cohen

A 2018 Department of Justice civil settlement involving a Florida interventional pain physician was a cliff hanger when it surfaced, especially vis a vis the issue of the so-called Company Model, where anesthesiologists and referring physicians jointly owned an anesthesia provider.  The Daitch settlement involved interventional pain specialists who settled the case for $2.8 Million.  There, the government claimed that a mass of urine drug tests weren’t reasonable or medically necessary.  But the issue buried in the settlement call the issue of intertwined medical businesses and the Company Model into question.

The so-called Company Model involves the formation of a company that provides anesthesia services.  It’s jointly owned by anesthesiologists and referring physicians.  Theoretically, on a Monday, the anesthesiologists own the anesthesia practice and bill for all anesthesia services performed at a GI lab or ASC.  On a Tuesday, however, the new company (jointly owned by the same anesthesiologists and the referring physicians) steps in and starts billing for the anesthesia services, thus indirectly sharing a part of the profits with the physicians who are generating the anesthesia referrals.

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Weave Compliance Into Your Practice For 2021

December 8th, 2020 by

fhlf regulatory complianceBy: Jeff Cohen

A recent Department of Justice $500,000 settlement with a cardiology practice underscores the need for ensuring tighter compliance by medical practices.  There, the practice billed Medicare for cardiology procedures for which interpretive reports were also required.  Medicare paid for the procedures, but upon audit, CMS could not find the requisite interpretive reports.  The False Claims Act case settled for $500,000, but it’s likely that (1) the reimbursement by Medicare was far less, and (b) the legal fees behind the settlement weren’t too far behind the settlement amount!  Had the practice self-audited each year, would they have found the discrepancy?

Medical practices have felt the weight of price compression and regulatory load more than probably any segment in the healthcare sector.  They are doing far more for far less.  And regulations expand faster than viruses!  Hence, many have a strategy of regulatory compliance that can best be characterized as a combination of facial compliance (“We bought the manual and put it on the shelf”) and hope (“They’re not really serious about this, are they?”).  Unless you’re part of a practice of more than 20 doctors, it’s likely that you can do more to ensure regulatory compliance.

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DOJ Makes Third Revision to its Compliance Guidance in as Many Years

July 6th, 2020 by

corporate healthcare complianceBy: Jacqueline Bain

In the beginning of June, 2020, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) revised its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs Guidance Document. The Document is designed to assist prosecutors in making informed decisions as to whether, and to what extent, the company’s compliance program is effective for purposes of determining, when a compliance violation has occurred, the appropriate form of any resolution or prosecution and monetary penalty. It also guides a prosecutor as to the company’s compliance obligations contained in any criminal resolution. The Document has been revised on three occasions since 2017, telegraphing the DOJ’s intent to prosecute those businesses without compliance plans, or without effective compliance plans, more harshly than those taking steps to identify and remedy risks. 

A healthcare business’ failure to have in place a compliance program designed to detect and respond to potential fraud and security risks places it at a serious risk of civil and criminal liability. When a compliance issue is investigated, charged and resolved, DOJ prosecutors are instructed to consider whether the business has invested in and improved its corporate compliance program and internal controls systems. They must also determine whether those improvements have been tested to demonstrate that they would prevent or detect similar misconduct in the future. According to the DOJ, there are three fundamental questions that a prosecutor should ask when determining whether a business’ compliance plan is sound:  read more

Operation Double Helix – Unprecedented Genetic Testing Fraud

October 10th, 2019 by

By: Karina P. Gonzalez 

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) genetic testing is the next frontier for healthcare fraud.

In a fraudulent operation that the Department of Justice calls, “unprecedented”, elderly or disabled patients nationwide were lured into providing their DNA for testing in a widespread genetic testing fraud scheme powered by a large telemarketing network. The doctors involved were paid to write orders prescribing the testing without any patient interaction or with only a brief telephone conversation. read more

EMTALA Compliance: A Primer

October 12th, 2016 by

EMTALABy: Dave Davidson

In 1986 President Ronald Reagan signed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) into law.  Since then, the application of the law has been expanded and refined.  It was one of the first laws giving the government the authority to dictate certain operations of a hospital.  While other laws and regulations such as the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law have become more of a focus for health care providers, EMTALA remains an area of active enforcement.  All providers with hospital privileges should therefore be aware of its application.

The policy behind the law is fairly straightforward.  Hospitals with emergency departments should not be able to turn away patients needing care because of their inability to pay (no more “wallet biopsies” as part of triage).  Likewise, hospitals should not be able to “dump” patients on other facilities for reasons other than for advanced care.

The requirements of the law are also very basic.  If a patient comes to an emergency department and requests an examination or treatment for a medical condition, the hospital must provide an appropriate medical screening exam, within its capability, to determine whether or not the patient has an emergency medical condition.  The screening provided goes beyond simple triage, and must be performed by a clinical provider such as a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant. read more