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Seeking Compensation for Out of Network Claims: A Primer for Providers

March 11th, 2019 by

out of network litigationBy: Matt Fischer

Litigation involving out of network claims by providers, also referred to as “non-participating” or “non-par”, continues to be rampant into 2019.  Complexity of plan administration, increased state and federal rule making, and rising costs are resulting in increased litigation.  A recurring issue: unpaid claims disputes.

Many physicians come to the conclusion that some contracts aren’t worth entering.  More and more physicians are opting out of participating provider contracts or have chosen not to participate in the first place.  Reimbursement is usually the prime reason.  The law that controls much of the litigation surrounding these disputes is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).  ERISA is a federal law that sets minimum standards for most plans along with fiduciary responsibilities for plan sponsors.  Under ERISA, a “Summary Plan Description” must be created for each plan that sets forth the rights and benefits of each plan member and importantly, how out-of-network reimbursement is determined.  read more

Medical Real Estate Opportunities Abound in Florida

February 12th, 2019 by

medical real estateBy: Amanda Bhikhari

Florida has experienced a huge influx of new residents in the past few years. Throughout the state you’ll find snowbirds moving for a better climate, professionals moving for new opportunities, lifestyle change and better tax incentives as the market grows, and families leaving big city life to establish roots in more suburban areas in Florida. In addition, in areas like Central Florida, big investors have established offices and purchased high dollar medical real property due to strong demographics, readily available open space, and  the continued appeal of healthcare professionals looking to grow and open new offices. On a national scale, according to data released by Revista and Healthcare Real Estate Insights (HREI), outpatient medical real estate development projects totaling nearly $7.7 billion in construction value and 19.4 million square feet were completed in 2016. read more

EKRA Affects Marketing Relationships with Labs and Addiction Treatment Businesses

January 15th, 2019 by

By: Jeff Cohen

For those following the federal legislative developments on the issue of compensating marketing people who market the services of labs and addiction treatment facilities there is a new update to take note of. Congress passed on October 24, 2018 the “Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act.”  Yes, that’s a real name!  Part of the law is the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act of 2018 (“EKRA”).

The core aspect of EKRA has to do with how to properly compensate marketing personnel who market the services of labs, addiction treatment facilities and recovery homes.   For those of you already familiar with existing federal law pertaining to compensation arrangements (e.g. the bona fide employee exception (the “BFE”) and the personal services arrangement and management contract safe harbor (the “PSA”)), the EKRA provisions will look familiar!  Key aspects of this law (which has to be read together with similar existing laws) include— read more

Prescribing Controlled Substances via Telehealth under Florida and Federal Law

January 15th, 2019 by

controlled substances via telehealthBy: Susan St. John

Pursuant to Section 456.44(3)(a), Florida Statutes, and Rule 64B-9.013(3)(a), Florida Administrative Code, a practitioner must evaluate a patient by taking a complete medical history and performing a physical examination prior to prescribing a controlled substance to a patient. The aforementioned statute and rule do not specifically rule out a patient evaluation taking place via a telemedicine visit. However, under current Florida law, only controlled substances used to treat psychiatric disorders may be prescribed using telemedicine technology, that is audio and video technology commonly referred to as telepsychiatry. Specifically, Rule 64B8-9.0141(4) states, “controlled substances shall not be prescribed through the use of telemedicine except for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.” Psychiatric disorders include Substance Use Disorders since the DSM-V classifies addiction as a mental health condition. Although the Standards for Telemedicine Practice under Rule 64B-9.0141, Florida Administrative Code, allows licensed practitioners to prescribe controlled substances for psychiatric disorders via telehealth technology, the federal law has lagged somewhat behind. read more

CMS Releases New mHealth Codes for 2019

January 15th, 2019 by

mHealth codes 2019 CMSBy: Amanda Bhikhari

Improving patient outcomes while maintaining physician decision making and practice efficiency is key to success in the growing health care arena. Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity to create new value, instead of a threat to what we find comfortable. It is clear that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is embracing the importance of innovation in the way we deliver health care.

In November 2018, the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule and Quality Payment Program was released by CMS with changes effective January 1, 2019.  This is the time for providers to definitely keep their eyes open to utilizing mHealth, and telehealth services. mHealth is also known as mobile health, and is a general term for the use of mobile phones and other wireless technology in medical care to educate consumers about preventive healthcare services as well as for disease surveillance, chronic disease management, treatment support, epidemic outbreak tracking. The release of the program is a sign that the agency is in favor of expanding the implementation of technology in providing medical care.  The updated mHealth codes are: read more

Genetic Testing HIPAA Warning: Legal Considerations

January 14th, 2019 by

genetic testing hipaaBy: Jacqueline Bain

You might have recently received a holiday gift of a direct-to-consumer genetic testing kit from Ancestry.com or 23andMe.com (or any other number of companies). So exciting! In our melting pot society, one can’t help but be curious about where they come from and if they are more likely than any other person to be subject to any number of ailments.

Not so fast though! Before you swab yourself and send away your genes for testing, you might consider what you’re exposing yourself to. Direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies, which provide genetic testing directly to consumers without any intervening healthcare provider, are not bound by HIPAA. They are not considered “covered entities”, and therefore not required to use the same protections for genetic information the way a hospital or your doctor would. read more

Physician Employment Contracts: Hidden Terms

January 11th, 2019 by

physician employment contractBy: David Davidson

Over the past few years, it seems like physician employment agreements are getting shorter and shorter.  While I applaud all efforts towards efficiency and economy, you should not always take those documents at face value.  For example, I recently reviewed a one page employment contract for a client.  That single page basically said, “We are hiring you as our employee for a term of one year, with an annual salary of $$$.”

At first glance, the simplicity of that document might seem refreshing.  That’s especially true if you’re worried about how much time it’s going to take for your lawyer to get through it!  My client’s second glance revealed a multitude of unanswered (and essential) questions.  There was no mention of expected duties, schedules, standards, renewals, terminations, insurance, benefits, vacation time, sick leave, CME, etc. in the employment contract  However, when we reviewed the contract together, we discovered that although those points were not even referenced on that single page, they were still legally, “in there.” read more

Second Proposed Stem Cell Bill Goes to Florida House of Representatives

January 2nd, 2019 by

stem cell billBy: Matt Fischer

On November 29, 2018, Florida Representative Chuck Clemons proposed house bill 65 (“HB 65”) that would significantly tighten regulation on the use of stem cells.  If the stem cell bill is signed into law, Florida will join other states (e.g. California, Texas and Washington) in passing some type of stem cell regulation.  While some bills around the country have centered the regulation on informing prospective customers of the risks associated with these treatments, HB 65 takes a more stringent approach with the threat of criminal exposure and includes certain protections for providers in the form of a “right-to-try” law.

Some of the highlights of HB 65 include: read more

Healthcare Transactions Today: Selling a Medical Practice to Private Equity Buyers

November 12th, 2018 by

private equityBy: Jeff Cohen

Private money (e.g. private equity) is in full swing purchasing medical practices with large profit margins (e.g. dermatology). This is NOT the same thing as when physician practice management companies (PPMCs) bought practices the 90s.  Back then, the stimulus for the seller was (a) uncertainty re practice profits in the future, and (b) the stock price.  Selling practices got some or all of the purchase price in stock, with the hopes the purchasing company stock would far exceed the multiplier applied to practice “earnings” (the “multiple”).  Buyers promised to stabilize and even enhance revenues with better management and better payer contracting.  If the optimism of the acquiring company and selling doctors was on target, everyone won because the large stock price made money for both the buyer and seller. The private equity “play” today is a little different.

Today’s sellers are approaching the private equity opportunity the same way they did with PPMCs, except for the stock focus since most private equity purchases don’t involve selling doctors obtaining stock.  Sellers hope their current practice earnings will equate to a large “purchase price.”  And they hope the buyer have better front and back office management that will result in more stable and even enhanced earnings.  And for this, the private equity buyer takes a “management fee,” which they typically promise (though not in writing) to offset with enhanced practice earnings.     read more

Pharmacy or DME: The Time is Ripe to Become Both

August 13th, 2018 by

pharmacy dmeBy: Michael Silverman

People looking to enter the direct-to-consumer medical supply business often question whether becoming a pharmacy or durable medical equipment provider (DME) is a “better” endeavor.

Now, more than ever, due to industry changes and because of the synergies between the two, the answer is “ become both.”

Think about it. read more