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Like many healthcare professionals, radiology providers and independent diagnostic testing facilities (IDTFS) perform thousands of procedures on patients. Because these patients will have varying degrees of health, providing these services come with numerous challenges that could put these facilities at-risk for lawsuits.
Despite best efforts to deliver the highest level of care, there are times when those efforts are not good enough. Situations may develop that require legal representation to ensure one incident does not threaten the entire practice.
Legal Issues for Radiology Providers and Diagnostic Imaging Facilities
On nearly a daily basis, radiology providers and diagnostic imaging facilities face different legal issues. The most common include:
• Contractual and transactional arrangements
• Enrollment requirements for Medicare patients
• HIPAA compliance
• Patient notification requirements
• Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute compliance
Fraud and abuse has become widespread in healthcare. Therefore, any business providing imaging services should have legal representation to ensure no missteps places the business in jeopardy.
Keeping Licensure and Credentials Current
In addition to concerns about noncompliance with one or more of the above issues, this group of providers must also maintain licenses and credentials that allow them to practice in the radiology field. This is where once again, legal representation is very beneficial.
When a unique situation arises, knowledge and experience trumps attempting to defuse the problem. Most often, a non-adversarial and creative approach can ensure something does not get out of control. The facility can continue to provide services to patients with confidence.
If a complaint does surface related to a patient’s care, providers can quickly retain legal representation. An investigator will follow-up with the expectation that something wrong occurred on the provider side.
Settling on merit is rarely the intended goal because of the prevalent cases of fraud. Those that do not can drag on for months. It can become difficult to focus on daily care with an investigation looming. A lawyer can handle the legal issues so the providers can continue to deliver uninterrupted services to clients and patients.
Appropriate Planning and Structure of the Facilities
Because providers of radiology and imaging services are businesses, there are similar needs and guidelines that apply to other types of businesses. Staying in compliance with rules and regulations of the industry is its own form of risk management. Some of the things that facilities need to follow include:
• Corporate medical practice issues
• Federal and state regulations
• Liability issues
• Business relationships
Employment contracts, equipment leases or business relationships with other providers exposes facilities to the possibility of a dispute. Guaranteeing regulatory compliance and making sure professional agreements are in order will help to shield facilities from potentially disastrous legal battles.
Lawyers for Radiology Providers and IDTFS Can Help
Lawyers who know the laws that affect radiology providers and IDTFS can help to keep these healthcare professionals legally and professionally compliant. The scrutiny on the health care industry has made it impossible for any provider to avoid some type of legal conflict.
Just because an audit or investigation occurs does not mean every provider will be found guilty. Still, it is best to have a strong legal mind focused on helping these facilities avoid questions of noncompliance in the first place.