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.
During COVID, telemedicine (the ability to get healthcare online via video call or by telephone) was a lifesaver. Especially before the vaccine was available, everyone was at risk when entering a medical treatment facility. The medical community responded by making sure that telemedicine options were available.
In most states, laws were passed to ensure that patients were covered for telehealth visitsjust like any other form of healthcare. In Florida, the legal measures taken for that purpose have expired. Healthcare providers are left wondering how to best serve their at-risk patients.
What Is Parity Law?
In general, parity law seeks to ensure that all patients are provided insurance coverage equally, no matter what the nature of their ailment. In most cases, it speaks to the treatment of mental health and addiction issues, ensuring patients get coverage for treatment of these disorders as easily as they can for any medical disorder.
What Is the Mental Health Parity Law?
Mental health parity laws make sure that patients who need treatment for mental health issues, including addiction, can get insurance coverage for their care, just as they would if they were to seek treatment for diabetes or cancer.
What Is Telehealth Parity Law?
Telehealth parity laws make sure that insurance coverage is provided for medical appointments that occur over the phone or via a video conferencing call, just as it would if the appointments were in person.
During COVID, telehealth parity laws have been a huge focus in the Florida healthcare world since the governor signed a waiver to ensure that patients would be able to access telemedicine with ease.
Almost two years after “Operation Brace Yourself” regarding purported telemedicine and orthotic bracing fraud made national headlines, on February 4, 2021 the Department of Justice Announced that a major player in that fraud – Florida businesswoman Kelly Wolfe – recently pled guilty to criminal health care and tax fraud charges.
Operation Brace Yourself was a 2019 crackdown on the illegal use of telemarketing and telemedicine to generate fraudulent claims for DME orders, whose reach spanned continents and ultimate implications defrauded taxpayers out of billions of dollars.
According to the Department of Justice Press Release and Settlement Agreement, Mr. Wolfe was seemingly a significant mastermind in establishing hundreds of DME companies that went on to defraud US taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries.
Here are some highlights of the recently signed Settlement Agreement between the United States DOJ, Kelly Wolfe and her company Regency, Inc. read more
For medical practices and professionals who need guidance interpreting telehealth law in Florida, contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm, where legal advice for healthcare professionals is our sole focus.
As in most corners of the country, the practice of telehealth is in full swing, especially during this unprecedented year of Covid-19 ramifications. Most physicians completely support and embrace the notion of virtual office visits and have been utilizing these innovative methods even more so since the pandemic’s onset this past spring. The challenge for most physicians, dentists, ancillary facilities and hospitals, however, lies not in the ability of their professionals to fulfill virtual appointment requirements, but in insurance companies’ willingness to pay for it, according to many legal scholars. This is why most healthcare professionals agree that healthcare law experts have never been so important throughout the nation, and Florida is no exception. That’s where Florida Healthcare Law Firm comes into play. With a team that collectively brings 150 years’ experience to the field of medical legal services, our staff can help busy doctors and hospital administrators interpret the complexities of virtual regulations and negotiate within legal parameters so their rights are upheld. The worry of insurance companies outwitting healthcare providers need not be an issue, so healthcare workers can get back to their business of focusing on what’s most important: their patients.
How do we make this happen so easily? In short, it’s our sole focus. As we say, our team “doesn’t dabble in healthcare [legal service]; it’s the only thing we do.” As an active part of our client’s team, we work with healthcare practitioners every step of the way to increase understanding, educate and partner to achieve your goals and, ultimately, your success. We have found that medical providers often face challenges in interpreting the ever-changing legal state and federal regulations that govern telemedicine. Confusion can arise in the areas of practice standards, medical records, scope of practice, registration, venue, reimbursement of fees, exemptions and review of fees. But this field of the law is our area of expertise. We can counsel you in services ranging from diagnosis to consultation, treatment and patient care management. We also are up to date on regulations regarding medical data, health education and public health. Trust our skilled and experienced team to know what’s happening in Florida, the most critical changes implemented by the state’s advisory council and the expanding capabilities of telemedicine as they evolve. We are available for your support 24/7. Contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm today for your first free consultation and find out how we can ease your legal burdens.
On June 30, 2020, State Surgeon General, Scott A. Rivkees, M.D., issued Emergency Order (“EO”) 20-011, which further extends EO 20-002 until the expiration of the Governor’s Executive Order No. 20-52, or any extensions thereof. Thus, EO 20-011 continues to allow out-of-state MDs, DOs, APRNs and PAs, to offer telehealth services to persons in Florida.
EO 20-011 continues to allow Florida licensed controlled substance prescribers (MDs, DOs, APRNs, PAs) to issue renewal prescriptions of controlled substances for non-malignant pain for existing patients. Additionally, EO 20-011 extends a qualified physician’s ability to recertify an existing qualified and certified patient’s continued use of medical marijuana using telehealth services. These further extensions are also tied to the expiration of Executive Order 20-52 and any extension thereof. read more
Today no one can live without a smart phone, and we interact with the rest of the world through a series of apps that reside on our handheld devices. From the healthcare perspective many large healthcare institutions and private companies have developed a myriad of healthcare related apps that currently reside in Apple’s App Store and Googles Play Store. You can measure your heart rate, get clinical advice, view your records, check on your health insurance coverage, make appointments and virtually interact with many different types of healthcare providers. But even in today’s hyper-electronic society it took COVID-19 to really cause an explosion in telehealth, so what does that tell us? There is a lot more room for expanding electronic interactions with patients and clients through Apps. So, here are the top five legal concerns should you address when you develop a Healthcare App: read more
State Surgeon General, Scott A. Rivkees, M.D., issued Emergency Order (“EO”) 20-009, which extends EO 20-002 and continues to allow out-of-state MDs, DOs, APRNs and PAs, to provide telehealth services to persons in Florida. EO 20-009 is set to expire June 30, 2020, unless otherwise extended.
Further, EO 20-009 continues to allow Florida licensed controlled substance prescribers (MDs, DOs, APRNs, PAs) to issue renewal prescriptions of controlled substances for non-malignant pain for existing patients. Additionally, EO 20-009 extends until June 30, 2020, a qualified physician’s ability to recertify an existing qualified and certified patient’s continued use of medical marijuana by using telehealth services. read more
In my last post, I promised to keep you updated as to any new orders from the State Surgeon General that would further extend a practitioner’s ability to prescribe refills of non-malignant pain controlled substances using telehealth communications, or a qualified physician’s ability to recertify an existing qualified patient’s use of medical marijuana. The Surgeon General has extended the ability to continue assisting patients with these specific needs (as well as other needs) until May 31, 2020, through the issuance of Emergency Order 20-007 on May 9, 2020.
Keep in mind, that to prescribe a refill of a controlled substance for chronic non-malignant pain, the practitioner must be an MD, DO, APRN, or PA licensed in Florida and designated as a controlled substance prescribing practitioner. Further, to prescribe such controlled substances using telehealth communications during this public health emergency, the patient must be an existing patient of the prescribing practitioner. read more
Earlier today, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-144 extending the State of Emergency declare in Executive Order 20-52 for another 60 days. Pursuant to the extension of Executive Order 20-52, the State Surgeon General’s Order 20-003 is also extended another 60 days as its expiration is tied to the expiration of Executive Order 20-52. Thus, telehealth providers from other states with valid and unencumbered licenses may continue to provide telehealth services to persons in Florida without registering with the Department of Health. Telehealth services must still be provided using two-way audio and video communications. Audio-only telephone calls are not permitted under Florida’s existing telehealth statute and have not been waived or suspended via the State Surgeon General’s Orders. read more
Florida Healthcare Law Firm is offering advisement by way of webinars to dentists and dental professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic. The firm, which offers legal assistance to medical professionals and businesses, is working in the dental law field and assisting professionals who are currently not working due to the coronavirus so that they can continue to provide assistance to their patients. With education top of mind for the firm, the telehealth and teledentistry campaign is to inform dental professionals on how to directly stay in contact with patients and offer services via audiovisual telecommunications.
“The coronavirus has hit our country hard and most small businesses. Dentistry is at the top of the list and even though dental law is one of our top fields, we wanted to make sure that we adapted to the times and offered a reliable service to our clients and those in the field impacted by this pandemic. Technology allows doctors to connect with patients from anywhere in the world and knowing that you can reach a medical professional who you’ve trusted for years is important, especially right now.” Florida Healthcare Law Firm Representative. “Although dental services have been deemed “non-essential business,” we know how important dental health is. Patients will still have dental questions or concerns during the office shut-downs.”
Because telemedicine is not a service usually offered by dentist offices, many doctors and business owners are finding it difficult to adjust and offer remote service. The law firm has stepped in and is offering free information webinars and other forms of digital content which can provide clarity and guidance for these small businesses so that they can stay open and provide care for their patients. With a limitation elective services, as well as many in the public not wanting to leave their homes right now, telehealth provides a bridge where patients can still get reliable care and advisement from someone they trust. read more