April 28th, 2022 by admin
April 20th, 2022 by admin
Medical malpractice statutes and limitations are not straightforward. This ambiguity can serve to protect both the patient and the medical professionals who are doing their best to help their patients with the knowledge and resources that are accessible.
The clock starts ticking at the time medical care is provided, but another clock starts ticking on the day the patient realizes there are problems that could indicate malpractice.
However, in the event that a provider actively covers up the malpractice and deceives the patient, all clocks stop.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Is the Florida Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations?
When a person receives medical care, the general rule is that they have two years from that date to file a malpractice claim in Florida.
This two-year limitation is extended to four years in certain circumstances. For example, if the person doesn’t realize they have suffered harm as a result of the medical care for up to four years after the medical care, this timeline is extended. This delayed realization would have to be proven in court in addition to the need to prove that malpractice occurred.
If the person doesn’t realize they were harmed due to a medical provider’s care until four years and one day or beyond, any attempt to file a malpractice case will be thrown out unless they can show that the doctor or medical facility actively covered up the malpractice or deceived the patient. This will also need to be proven in addition to the original malpractice claim and the facts supporting the delayed realization of harm.
It is important to note that a patient must file a Notice of Intent before filing a malpractice case. This will detail the nature of that case and give the person or business 90 days to respond. This filing stops the clock on the statute of limitations.
In many cases, a settlement offer may be provided within that 90-day period, but if the professional or business indicates that they will not settle, the patient must file a malpractice suit within the remaining time left in the 90 days after notice or the amount remaining in the statute of limitations, whichever provides them with more time.
What Are Florida Medical Malpractice Caps?
There are also some caps in place when it comes to how much a patient may ask for and be granted in a malpractice case. When it comes to non-economic damages, like “pain and suffering,” the cap is set at $500,000. If the damages are economic in nature (such as lost income due to malpractice), the cap is set at $1,000,000.
Florida Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice: Get Help
Medical malpractice cases can be complicated. If a settlement is desired, legal counsel can help to ensure a fair and protected deal. Contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm now to discuss the terms of any medical malpractice claims and get help moving forward.
January 20th, 2022 by admin
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.
January 10th, 2022 by admin
The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) in Florida was created by Chapter 20 of the Florida Statutes and serves as the primary health policy and planning institution for all of Florida.
Florida’s Medicaid program is worth $25.2 billion. The more than 4 million Floridians served by that program and the licensure of the almost 50,000 health care facilities in Florida all fall under the jurisdiction of the AHCA in Florida.
What Does the AHCA Do in Florida?
Essentially, the AHCA regulates and coordinates the Medicaid system and the healthcare providers that offer medical services through that program to Floridians, so there is sharing of healthcare data and resources across the state through the Florida Center for Health Information and Policy Analysis.
As much as the AHCA is a regulatory agency in Florida, they have ongoing goals to get more Floridians the health insurance they need, identify and eliminate fraudulent providers that are raising costs for everyone, and cut back on regulations that aren’t valuable or productive.
What Are Florida AHCA Regulations?
It may be easier to list what Florida AHCA does NOT regulate rather than all it does, but here are just a few of the primary things that ACHA regulates:
- Fraud and abuse of billing and services
- Licensure of healthcare professionals, healthcare clinics and other facilities, including hospitals and long-term care programs
- Quality of care and civil rights complaints in all healthcare facilities
- Compilations of healthcare data
- Background screenings for those who work as administrators or employees in nursing homes
- Health plan enrollment, rates, contracts, and related information
What Do I Need to Be in Compliance With ACHA in Florida?
Every healthcare provider and facility will have a different list of regulations, licensure, and other compliance tools to address with the ACHA. Contact us at the Florida Healthcare Law Firm to set up an appointment. We can help you discover what you and your business need to remain compliant.
December 20th, 2021 by admin
Gifts from another healthcare business or professional may seem harmless enough. They may actually be nothing more than a gesture that says, “Thank you for your time,” or “Thank you for recommending me.”
But the federal government may not agree that these gifts are harmless if you are in the healthcare industry and the gift is a thank you for a referral for a patient who paid for care or services with Medicare or Medicaid.
Anti-fraud laws come with stiff penalties. Getting to know them can help you to protect yourself and your business from inadvertently triggering investigations, fines, and/or prison time.
What Is the Anti-Kickback Statute?
The Anti-Kickback Statute, or AKS, is a criminal statute designed to stop medical professionals from encouraging Medicaid or Medicare patients to enroll in medical treatment or take drugs that may not be medically necessary in return for a “kickback” or remuneration of any kind, be it in cash, supplies, or services.
In some industries, receiving an affiliate fee or otherwise getting paid for referrals is standard practice and perfectly above board, but when it comes to the federal health care program, any payment for referrals is a criminal act.
Is the Anti-Kickback Statute Impacting Your Business?
If you, your business, or a colleague within your clinic is being investigated for potentially violating the Anti-Kickback Statute, contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm.
We can assist you in navigating the investigation process and help with any legal issues that arise as a result, including meetings with mediators and court dates. We can also help you adjust your best practices for handling referrals for your Medicare and Medicaid patients, so there is no future risk to your business or your career due to the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Call Florida Healthcare Law Firm now to set up your consultation.
December 6th, 2021 by admin
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.
November 10th, 2021 by admin
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.
October 19th, 2021 by admin
Health insurance is expensive, but the cost of medical treatment without health insurance is even more expensive.
For this reason, there is Florida legislation in place to help ensure that everyone who is employed has access to health insurance coverage, no matter what their pre-existing conditions, past health insurance claims, or current health issues might be.
Specifically, the Florida Health Care Access Act is the current law governing this process. It comes with a number of essential requirements that must be followed by the business and by the employee.
What Is Required in the Florida Health Care Access Act?
Small businesses are allowed to provide group health insurance to employees. While this right to health insurance is protected under Florida law, it comes with a laundry list of requirements that may not be simple to follow.
For example, the Florida Health Care Access Act requires that any employee signing up for insurance provide a full and accurate disclosure statement. If this statement is found to be lacking in any information that the insuring party requires to make decisions regarding the details of the health insurance policy, the insured may not be able to get the coverage they want for the medical care they need.
Do I Need Help Fulfilling Requirements for the Florida Health Care Access Act?
Small businesses ready to begin offering group health insurance may benefit from getting assistance on how to install the new program.
Effective personnel training will help to ensure that employees who sign up will have access to all benefits and won’t be denied coverage when they need it most.
To get assistance with any aspect of the Florida Health Care Access Act and to make sure that you are in compliance with state law, contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm now to set up a consultation and get started.
October 2nd, 2021 by admin
Stem cell law has been heavily contested in the courts for decades in the United States, and the hotly debated topic has strong support on both sides.
In fact, it is not just at the federal level that lawmakers have been unable to reach a decision. Each state has also fought through the different permutations of stem cell research law in its own courts, and decisions are continually being overturned.
What Is Current Federal Law on Stem Cell Research?
At the federal level, there is no explicit regulation regarding stem cell research. This puts the decision into the hands of each state, according to the will of the locality.
However, federal funding for scientific research does have an impact on the developments in stem cell research and where the stem cells are resourced.
Different presidents have either put a hold on stem cell research or lifted the holds placed by their predecessor. Depending on the current state of the union, stem cell research has a greater or lesser chance of approval for federal funding.
Where Does Florida Law Stand on Stem Cell Research?
SB 954 in Florida has been batted back and forth in the state’s congress, as lawmakers seek to come to an agreement on what it means to engage in ethical research for the advancement of medical treatment.
A few of the topics included in and covered by the bill include:
- Making sure that the Department of Health is held to a specific date by which they must adopt the new rules in the bill.
- Ensuring that any patients who are to receive an “investigational” stem cell treatment will sign a consent form in advance to ensure they understand what is happening and what they are agreeing to.
- Dictating that only licensed, certified, and active physicians may administer an “investigational” stem cell treatment to any patient for any purpose.
- Requiring that all stem cell treatments be overseen by a review board put in place for that purpose.
All the specifics of the bill seem to prioritize making sure that all patients have full knowledge of what a stem cell treatment is in advance, that the treatment is administered by someone who is knowledgeable and well-trained, and that the treatment is further overseen by a governing board that will be quick to respond to any abuses of the process.
Where Can I Get More Information About Stem Cell Research Law?
If your medical business is involved in stem cell research and you would like to ensure that you are fully compliant with current law, or you want to know how pending stem cell law may impact your work, contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm today to schedule a consultation. We can assist you in remaining compliant as the law in Florida changes.
September 22nd, 2021 by admin
Gaining licensure to become a chiropractor is no small feat. Many new chiropractors are ready to jump into starting their own chiropractic clinic, while others prefer to work for other companies before they branch out on their own.
The choice you make should be based on your circumstances, personality, and long-term goals. It should also center on what is legally allowed in the state of Florida.
Licensed Chiropractors May Start Their Own Clinic
For chiropractors ready to start their own business, there is no Florida law standing in the way. In fact, as a fully licensed and active chiropractor, you are one of the few people in the state of Florida who can legally hire other chiropractors.
In fact, a Florida statute explicitly states that, with few exceptions, a chiropractor may not work as an employee or an independent contractor for any corporation, person, or limited liability company that is not owned by an active and licensed chiropractor.
Exceptions include businesses owned by physicians, hospitals, a clinic affiliated with a chiropractic school, a publicly traded corporation, a nonprofit, an insurance company, a HMO clinic, or a healthcare clinic that also employs other doctors.
This list of exceptions may seem to cover all scenarios, but it does limit the abilities of small businesses owned by non-physicians from hiring chiropractors. The purpose is to ensure the ability of the chiropractor to engage in their scope of practice without undue influence from a company owner that may not be familiar with the law or chiropractic care.
Avoid Chiropractor Lawsuits
The best way to avoid chiropractor lawsuits based on an employer’s status will vary by state. Many Florida chiropractors don’t realize that there are laws limiting whom they can work for.
If you are facing a lawsuit due to your employer and would like help, reach out to Florida Healthcare Law Firm today.
There are a number of laws in place to ensure that patients are protected and never sent out for unnecessary referrals that may be more financially than medically motivated.
For this reason, Florida has instituted the Florida Patient Brokering Act, otherwise known as anti-kickback statutes, that may impact local healthcare clinics and medical offices.
What Is the Patient Brokering Act?
The Patient Brokering Act in Florida makes it illegal for any organization to provide bonuses, split-fee arrangements, benefits, commissions, or any kickbacks for patient referrals.
This means that a specialist may not pay a commission or kickback to a general practitioner for referring a patient to their care, nor can any healthcare office offer a bonus or rebate to any patient for choosing their services.
How Did the Florida Patient Brokering Act Change Healthcare Practices?
Previously, it was normal practice for one healthcare facility to recommend a certain provider or treatment center to patients who sought care outside of the originating facility’s purview. In return, the referred party might pay a commission on the services rendered to that patient or otherwise offer a bonus or kickback of some kind for that referral.
Unfortunately, that practice resulted in a number of referrals being made for patients who may not be in medical need of that care. With the goal of generating a kickback, a referring facility might send a patient to the partner provider even if it was not for a necessary treatment. This meant that the referred facility would charge the patient’s insurance for care that may or may not be medically necessary, creating an abuse of insurance and, in some cases, putting the patient at risk as well.
What Do the Florida Patient Brokering Laws Mean for Florida Healthcare Providers?
For healthcare facilities or providers that have been charged with patient brokering, action is needed. Contacting a healthcare attorney is essential to making sure that you are fully equipped to protect your reputation and get back to focusing on what you do best.
No healthcare professionals are immune to the Florida Patient Brokering Act. Doctors, dentists, and pharmacists may all be accused of taking kickbacks for patient referrals.
Similarly, hospitals, dental offices, drug addiction treatment programs, nursing homes, and pharmacies can be brought up on the statute as well.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Anti-Kickback Statutes in Florida?
Yes, there are a few. Perhaps the most important of these is that providers within the same group practice can avoid repercussions for referrals with any financial benefit if they are for providers within the same group.
Similarly, some contracted health benefit plans can circumvent the problem as well.
If you are facing charges due to the Florida Patient Brokering Act, reach out to the Florida Healthcare Law Firm today and set up a consultation.