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4th District Court Ruling Excludes Advice of Counsel Defense From Patient Brokering Act Prosecutions

August 7th, 2019 by

The Fourth District Court of Appeal just ruled that the fact that a person received and acted on the advice of a lawyer is inadmissible when being prosecuted for violating the Florida Patient Brokering Act. 

Florida Patient Brokering Act

 The Court found that the Act is a “general intent” crime, not a “specific intent” crime because it does not specifically say it’s illegal to do the specified things “knowingly and willingly” (or words to that effect). Had the law contained such language, it would have been considered to be a “specific intent crime,” thus entitling the accused to introduce into evidence the fact that the person got legal advice before engaging in the targeted conduct.

The ruling ALSO creates an opportunity for the Legislature to reexamine the law to see if specific intent language makes sense. We strongly believe that it should, since the federal law the Act was originally modeled on (the Anti-Kickback Statute) contains such specific intent-type language. And while the Act has exceptions that would still apply to prosecuted individuals, the ruling underscores the importance of reexamining any and all compensation arrangements between healthcare providers, especially those connected in any way to patient referrals or business generation.     

Upcoming Changes to Liposuction Law in Florida

July 24th, 2019 by

By: Jacqueline Bain

lipsuction law florida

At the end of June, Governor DeSantis signed into law various additions and clarifications to the requirements of offices and clinics allowing liposuction procedures. Should your office perform these types of procedures, please review below and speak with an attorney about your obligations.

Mandatory State Registration: On or before January 1, 2020, every office in which a physician performs a liposuction procedure removing more than 1,000 cubic centimeters of supernatant fat must register with the State in order to perform such a surgery in office. (Exceptions are made for offices that maintain State licenses under either Chapter 390 or Chapter 395, Florida Statutes.)

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Genetic Testing Scams on OIG Radar

July 9th, 2019 by
genetic testing scam OIG

By: Jacqueline Bain

On June 3, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (the “OIG”) issued a Fraud Alert titled: Genetic Testing Scam. Though the alert is short, the fact that the alert itself was issued is important. The OIG doesn’t often issue fraud alerts, so taking an affirmative step like this shows an increased likelihood of regulatory action.

Physicians, take note. If you are working with a laboratory providing genetic testing services, be sure that laboratory is (1) running those specimens on its own equipment; (2) only sending out testing equipment after receiving your order; and (3) has in place policies and procedures designed to accurately bill for the services it performs and other compliance matters.

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Florida Telehealth Law Basics

July 9th, 2019 by

By: Dave Davidson

florida telehealth law

The opportunities to use technology to provide healthcare services seem to be growing as fast as technology itself.  This is especially true in the area of care being provided by a “remote” provider.  In fact, an AMA study released in May 2019 indicated that telehealth was the fastest growing “place of care” in the country, outpacing urgent care centers, retail clinics, and ambulatory surgery centers.  Unfortunately, the laws governing telehealth have not always kept up with the pace of that growth, and questions remained about how it could be provided in Florida.  However, the Florida legislature did something about that this year, by passing House Bill 23, which Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law on June 25, 2019.  The act, which is primarily codified in Florida Statutes §456.47, took effect on July 1, 2019 and answers many outstanding questions.  These questions are addressed below.

What Constitutes Telehealth in Florida and Who can Practice It?

The new law sets out a straightforward, and broad, definition of telehealth.  Basically, telehealth in Florida is the use of telecommunication technology by a telehealth provider to provide healthcare services.  These services can include assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, monitoring, transfer of medical data, education, public health services and health administration.  Voice-only telephone calls, emails and faxes are specifically excluded from the definition.  Obviously those activities are still permissible, but they fall outside the definition. 

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The Impact of Healthcare Fraud: Beyond Financial

July 9th, 2019 by

By: Richard A. Merlino, Guest Contributor

healthcare fraud

Healthcare fraud abuse comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from the simple filing of a false Medicare claim to grand schemes arranging kickbacks (i.e., payment by one party to another for having referred business or otherwise produced income for the payer). Similarly, the typical conception of “culpability” for the commission of healthcare related criminal acts varies dramatically across a variety of Federal criminal statutes enacted to protect against fraud.

For instance, one may be criminally liable under the Federal Anti-Kickback provisions for receiving benefits “directly or indirectly”, “overtly or covertly”, and “in cash or in kind”. Accordingly, although knowledge of receipt of benefit is a necessary element, the Government may seek a conviction even where “indirect” “non-cash” benefits are received. Along the same lines, Federal healthcare laws are comprised of more than merely criminal statutes, which provide a harsh deterrent to fraud and ensure legal compliance. Federal law also provides a complex framework of civil protection (under statutes such as the False Claims Act) and administrative penalties (such as suspension of licensure) to supplement the criminal provisions effecting healthcare fraud and administration.

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HB 369 – Latest Florida Addiction Treatment Law

July 1st, 2019 by

There’s an old saying that goes like this:  To a hammer, everything is a nail.  There’s another I like:  There are two things in life you don’t wanna see being made:  one is sausage, the other is law.  Case in point is HB 369, the latest Florida law aimed at correcting certain problems in the addiction treatment industry.  Though nailing some clear issues that needed shoring up, some of the provisions skate on some questionably thin ice vis a vis conflicting with federal law.

The law implemented last year is a mixed bag.  This one is no different, and yet in many ways more of a modification of last year’s legislative bombshell than anything else.  Some of the good stuff that the law does includes:  doubling down on the credentials required to work in a recovery center.  For instance, the definitions of “clinical supervisor” and “peer specialist” are both beefed up to require, for instance, a length of time of sobriety.  And background checks for people working at treatment centers are featured strongly in the new law.  The law also creates an exemption from disqualification for certain past offenses, which is important when qualifying people to help those in treatment who likely had a past history of abusing drugs or alcohol.  The law also attempts to negate old landlord tenant laws to allow a recovery residence to discharge a resident for some very good reasons (e.g. it’s necessary for the resident’s welfare). In these ways and others, the law is thoughtful.

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Real Estate Investment Trusts: Three Types of REITs

June 24th, 2019 by

REITs are part of an extremely complex and diverse industry, but they can also be very profitable. Not only are there different categories of REITs, many different property types and classifications can comprise them.

Let’s start with the three types of REITs: mortgage, equity and hybrid.

There are three ways a real estate investment trust can be structured.

 The first type, is a Mortgage REIT. Mortgage REITs work by creating a trust which will  provide a loan and lend  money to landlords and their operational teams to purchase a property. The way revenue is generated is through the interest paid on the mortgage loans. Interest can be earned either directly from mortgages or from mortgage-backed securities. Mortgage real estate investment trusts are not direct investments in specific property. Since the primary way the mortgage REIT survives is through the interest earned, many factors can make a mortgage REIT strong or weak. These factors include mortgage rates, prepayments of a loan before the due date, and credit events like foreclosure or bankruptcy.

The second type of real estate investment trust is an equity REIT. An equity REIT owns and operates income-producing real estate assets like offices, shopping centers, medical facilities, and resorts, among many other assets. This is the category where healthcare REITs fall. The real estate investment trust leases space in the facilities to tenants for rent. Most of the equity REITs operates in their core areas. For healthcare operations, this includes medical office building (MOB) development, outpatient facilities, senior housing facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Essentially healthcare REITs are landlords to the medical world.. Many Healthcare REITS have substantial stakes in seniors housing. Some of them own the buildings outright and have tenants pay the leases, as well as the taxes and upkeep (so called triple-net-lease arrangements, or NNN). Some healthcare REITs own the property but has an operating company run the day-to-day operations.

Finally the third type of REIT is a Hybrid REIT, which is a combination of equity and mortgage REITS. This REIT generates income from rent and capital gains like an equity REIT but receives interest like a mortgage REIT. 

Competitive Bid Checklist for DME Providers

June 6th, 2019 by

By: Michael Silverman

Come January 2021, if a DME provider has not been awarded a CMS contract to supply a competitively bid item to a Medicare beneficiary that resides in a competitive bid area it will be unable to do so.

Suppliers looking to participate in the latest rendition of CMS’ Competitive Bidding Program need to act now to try and secure a bid.

Otherwise, once implemented, only DME providers that have won a bid for that specific item in that geographical bid area can service Medicare beneficiaries residing therein.

Here’s a ‘to-do’ list for providers looking to participate with a competitive bid, and the latest timeline updates from CMS. read more

Legal Expertise with the best Medicare Fraud Attorney Florida

May 23rd, 2019 by

Expert Florida medical attorneys can safeguard consumers’ interests against any medical malpractice or any other form of frauds committed by a healthcare specialist. However, like any other law, even this is often misused owing to false claims. Hence, it is prudent for a medical practitioner to avail the help of a lawyer who can advise and guide you against such frauds.

Florida medical attorneys

Florida Healthcare Law Firm is a reputed healthcare law firm that specializes in Florida Medicare fraud cases, amongst other healthcare guidance. With a team of competent medical attorneys, comprising over 150 years of combined experience under our belt, we pride ourselves in being transparent and being utterly dedicated to the needs of the client.

The team focuses on all kinds of healthcare law and guides the clients into following commendable healthcare practice. It also provides legal assistance in Florida medicare appeal in case of any legal dispute between the establishment and the patients. The team of expert medicare fraud attorneys of our firm are always up-to-date with the complex and ever-evolving fraud laws and how they can be abused via false claims.

To safeguard the client against any medicare fraud, our firm conducts regular Internal Investigations and encourages Self-Disclosures. It reviews Financial Relationships with Physicians and rules on compensation arrangements made to consumers and patients of any kind. The able attorneys are well-read on the complex business structures of healthcare organizations and are capable of providing legal advice on the same.

Connect with the most experienced healthcare lawyers, today!

Hire the best Intellectual Property Attorney Florida

May 23rd, 2019 by

In layman terms, Intellectual Property law Florida is a set of rules that protects creative or artistic works, inventions, designs and so on. These laws are in existence to safeguard interests of inventors of intangible properties. The intangible properties are formally known as “Intellectual Property” and include anything from copyrights to trademarks to patents.

While there is a general consensus between the rules guarding Intellectual property, the exact details from country to country, or in other cases, state to state might vary. Hence, it is always advisable to consult legal personnel who have extensive experience in the area before filing for a patent or trademark.

intellectual property law Florida

Florida Healthcare Law Firm has a team of competent lawyers with 150 years of combined experience under their belt, many of them specializing in intellectual property law Florida. These experts work with utmost transparency and are also completely dedicated to their clients. Our team of experts provide legal guidance on intellectual property law related to the healthcare industry that include patents, copyrights and trademarks of different healthcare services and equipment. Understanding the legalities involved in any of these processes is imperative to conduct a business without any legal hassles. Protecting your intellectual property is the first step to conducting an ethical and sound business or service.

Apart from these, there are other types of Intellectual Properties as well that are protected by our intellectual property attorney Florida. Intellectual Properties of these kinds often give rise to conflicts among individuals and organizations due to their considerable value. Choose the best to protect your Intellectual Property, today!