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Healthcare law is among the most complex laws in the country. Strict guidelines, requirements, and complex legal terms mean healthcare providers spend more time dealing with paperwork than they do with patients. The attention to detail when it comes to healthcare laws are so imperative for healthcare providers, it often comes before the need of the patients as it’s often the only thing that protects healthcare providers from malpractice. When healthcare providers spend much of their time at their desk handling laws and stipulations for their practice, they spend far less time focusing on the patient. To remedy this situation, a healthcare attorney is often recommended.
Every healthcare facility is at risk for malpractice suits, and a number of other legal issues due to the complexity of the many healthcare laws in place to protect both doctors and nurses. To prevent malpractice from occurring, legal and ethical issues must be met. Doctors and their staff are at risk with every little mistake they make. Everyone makes mistakes, and it can cost the office more than it can afford. Healthcare attorneys work to handle the details so the doctor can focus on the patient.
Services offered to doctors and medical facilities by healthcare attorneys often include the following:
– Health law litigation
– Healthcare regulations
– Health plans
– Healthcare entity formation and management
– Managed care
Healthcare attorneys work to stay up-to-date on every issue, the governing laws, and the changes implemented by federal healthcare officials. Each subject is complex, and each one requires a degree of medical knowledge as well as legal knowledge.
1. Health Law Litigation: The services provided by attorneys for this type of litigation includes everything from medical staff credentialing to peer review. It includes physician referral laws, Medicare/Medicaid regulation disputes, and provider-payor managed care disputes.
2. Healthcare Regulations: Both fraud and abuse investigations and compliance fall into this category. Attorneys keep up with changing laws and consult with doctors and offices to provide up-to-date information regarding payment issues, safety, health, and even reimbursement issues. It also covers Medicare and Medicaid laws and changes, the rights of patients who come into an office, and any investigations presented for compliance and fraud.
3. Employment: Every doctor’s office hires staff to work closely with patients and their private information and medical records. All employed persons should be handled legally from the start, including their background checks, their union memberships, their legal litigation, hiring, and any termination. Lawyers advise doctors on how to best handle situations applying to employment on a regular basis.
4. Health Plans: Changing health plans are complex and often confusing, even for those who work in the medical field. Attorneys work to provide information regarding what’s covered under health plans, how they work, and what is required of all parties.
5. Compliance: Every medical professional is required to meet specific compliance laws both in patient practice and monetary management. The laws are numerous and filled with legal-jargon, which is why having a compliance attorney on retainer is beneficial when an issue arises.
6. Healthcare Entity Formation and Management: The act of opening a practice is demanding in terms of legal obligations. An attorney works through the laws, the legalities, and the requirements put into place by all doctors, their staff, and what they need to open a successful, legal practice.
7. Managed Care: Attorneys provide contracts, development, and organization for these entities. Managed care is imperative for compliance of all healthcare laws.
Hiring an experienced attorney to consult with your legal practice is imperative. It’s nearly impossible for a doctor’s office to stay up-to-date with regularly changing healthcare laws, details, and information. Keeping an attorney on retainer to provide necessary updates and information, to handle any legal issues in question, and to refer to when there is an issue with a healthcare plan, employment issue, or compliance law is beneficial.
Spending more time with the patient focusing on what makes them healthy is what makes a doctor successful. Spending all available time looking up legal information rather than focusing on medicine isn’t what doctors spend years in medical school to do. Leave the law to the lawyers, and leave medicine to those trained to provide care.