Health law is the federal, state, and local law, rules, regulations and other jurisprudence among providers, payers and vendors to the healthcare industry and its patient and delivery of health care services; all with an emphasis on operations, regulatory and transactional legal issues.
Ever consider why the ability to practice at a hospital is considered a “privilege” and not a “right”? That is because the hospital granting those privileges has broad discretion to grant, modify, suspend, or revoke those privileges. They are privileges, not rights, because the hospital has a duty protect itself and its staff and patients from the risks of the willful or negligent act of is medical staff. The granting or refusal of privileges is therefore a duty of the hospital. If the hospital fails to carry out that duty in an appropriate manner, it can be subject to liability for negligent credentialing. Because of this, the hospital’s actions in granting, modifying, suspending, or revoking privileges receive deferential treatment at any subsequent level of review, whether at a hearing, on appeal, or in subsequent litigation.
When a physician is faced with a potential threat of future action against his/her medical staff privileges, the physician should take immediate notice and action. Such a threat is frequently because of a slow-brewing storm built on multiple components. Whether the issue is disruptive behavior, quality concerns, administrative leadership changes or a backdrop of other political influencers, recognizing the issue and addressing it early is the best way to avoid a full-blown attack on your medical staff privileges and the need to defend yourself in a formal hearing process. read more
As a hospital administrator, it’s your job to keep your facility free from scandal. If you must consult with Florida medical attorneys, you’re likely dealing with a problem already in progress or one you’re trying to prevent.
It’s time to look closely at Florida employment lawsuits. At Florida Healthcare Law Firm, we’ve seen renewed interest in this type of case, and we want to ensure that all hospital administrators know the risks involved.
Why Florida Employment Lawsuits Are Rising
When jobs are plentiful, and talent is scarce, lawsuits tend to arise. Healthcare is currently facing this predicament.
By 2033, the United States will face a physician shortage of up to 139,000. Some Florida communities are already feeling the pinch. Available doctors have job offers in minutes, and some hospitals end up in bidding wars to get the talents they want.
When you’re negotiating employment benefits on the fly, mistakes are made. Each one can lead to a costly lawsuit.
Doctors who know they have other offers can try to jump out of contracts that aren’t tight. If you’re running an organization where 30 percent of your doctor’s capacity is consumed by paperwork, you could be losing doctors in this manner.
New resident recruitment should be addressed with the same care you’d give to a full-time hire. Get lawyers involved early to avoid late-stage lawsuits.
At Florida Healthcare Law Firm, our Healthcare Business Operations team is ready to help you with recruitment and retention agreements. And should you face a lawsuit, we’ll be right with you until it’s resolved. Contact us to find out more.
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.
The concept of gainsharing in the health care industry has been around for decades. Under a typical gainsharing program, a hospital and participating physicians will develop a cost-savings plan in relation to a specific procedure or service line. As the savings are realized, the hospital will then share a portion of the measurable savings with those physicians. The goal of gainsharing has always been to align physician and hospital interests, in order to improve the quality and efficiency of clinical care.
Gainsharing has not always been viewed favorably by the government. In fact, in a 1999 Special Advisory Bulletin, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) took the position that gainsharing arrangements violated the law, and that the payments could even constitute kickbacks to the participating physicians. Since then, the government has not backed off its position that gainsharing programs might violate the law. However, the OIG has also determined that it would not seek sanctions in a growing number of gainsharing arrangements. read more
With the opioid epidemic in South Florida at crisis levels, there is an increasing demand on local hospital emergency departments for screening and evaluations of drug overdoses, considered a medical emergency. Addiction treatment law evolves with EMTALA updates. Many patients receiving substance abuse treatment in this community are coming from out-of-state. Many are young, under 35 years and a majority receive outpatient services. Overdoses are occurring more frequently as patients deliberately misuse opioid prescriptions such as Fentanyl or an illicit drugs such as heroin. If the patient possesses and or uses an illicit drug while in treatment, the policy in many facilities is to terminate treatment and discharge the patient. But if the patient has overdosed, the facility will place a call to 911 and that patient will end up with a visit to a local emergency department. A discharged patient will often continue using and end up in the emergency department, taken there by paramedics or some other individual.
Evolution of EMTALA
Local emergency departments now play a pivotal role in the next steps that an overdosed patient may take. Is the patient receiving their EMTALA rights (Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act), a federal law requiring anyone coming to a hospital emergency department to be screened and examined? If an emergency medical condition exists, treatment is provided to relieve or eliminate the emergency medical condition within the service capability of the hospital, a difficult task with substance abuse. read more
Medical web-based businesses have been on the rise, while the number of HIPAA enforcement actions by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has risen exponentially as well. Since the beginning of this year, HHS has announced several large settlements with companies that failed to comply with HIPAA Compliance requirements. For example, in January, HHS announced a $2.2 million settlement with a health insurance company when a breach resulted from a stolen portable USB device containing PHI. Also, In February, HHS announced a penalty of $3.2 million against a medical center for a breach that arose from a theft of an unencrypted laptop containing PHI. This enforcement activity is becoming the norm, so it is best to ensure that your medical website is legally compliant.
If you are handling any PHI on or through your website, you must ensure that your website is up to speed with HIPAA compliance. Here are some recommendations to address the security and privacy of PHI that your website may manage (please note that this is not a comprehensive list): read more
It’s almost renewal time once again for many health care practitioners. If this is your renewal cycle, please note the following information provided by the Florida Board of Medicine, which can help you avoid some of the most common delays encountered with license renewals.
It is important to remember the upcoming renewal is the first to have mandatory continuing medical education reporting requirements. If you have not done so, please activate your account with CE Broker and ensure that all required CME you have completed for this renewal has been uploaded.
Most of the medical practitioners renewing will be required to submit the following:
Completed renewal application
Evidence that you have practiced medicine or have been on the active faculty of an accredited medical school for at least two years of the immediately preceding four years
Completion of Financial Responsibility form
Completion of Physician Workforce Survey
Verification of Physician Profile
Verification of your current status relating to prescribing controlled substances for the treatment of chronic non-malignant pain
The scope of Physician Assistants’ practice is a dynamic and hotly debated area of law which shares many similarities with the nurse supervision issues we covered in a recent article (available here). House Bill 1275 would have also allowed for an expansion in the PA field and was included on the “Health Train” compilation of bills introduced during the Florida legislature’s recent session. As we know nothing on the Train passed before the session ended and though it may gain forward momentum next time, here’ how the laws stand today: read more
The Department of Health and Human Services announced this morning that it has entered into a settlement agreement with Parkview Health System, Inc., an Indiana medical group caught up in HIPAA violation case. Parkview was assisting a retiring physician to transition her patients to new providers. Parkview was also considering purchasing some of the physician’s patient records. When Parkview attempted to return between 5,000 and 8,000 patient records to the physician, she was not home to accept their return. Parkview employees left cardboard boxes containing between 5,000 and 8,000 patient medical records outside of the physician’s home, and within twenty feet of a public road. In settlement and release of HHS’ claims against Parkview for such a HIPAA violation, Parkview agreed to pay the Department of Health and Human Services $800,000 and enter into a Corrective Action Plan. The entire Resolution Agreement between Parkview and HHS is available here.
The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights is the chief enforcer of HIPAA. The Office’s recent enforcement of HIPAA with respect to a Massachusetts derm practice is illustrative of how the government views HIPAA and how vulnerable medical practices are. read more