Legal Category

A situation brewing in Nebraska should serve as a cautionary tale for ensuring patients are safe at all times—and minimizing liability risk for all urgent care operators. A physician in Lincoln, NE has been accused of carrying out unnecessary, invasive physical exams of a female recruit to the Nebraska State Patrol. A state senator there plans to submit a formal complaint to state regulators and medical associations against the provider, after a female trooper filed a lawsuit against that doctor and against the State Patrol. The prospective trooper says theRead More
The case of Texas newlyweds whom a court ordered to pay a photographer $1 million after engaging in a social media smear campaign has gotten a lot of attention. The headlines will fade, but the decision could give all businesses—including urgent care centers—cause to take another look at their options if they feel they’ve been wrongfully defamed online. In the Texas case, a newly married couple claimed the photographer was holding their wedding album “hostage” over what they saw as a surprise $125 fee for an album cover. The photographerRead More
When EHR vendor eClinicalWorks agreed to a $155 million settlement over charges that it falsified claims for federal incentive payments, it probably thought the damage would be mainly financial. Months later, though, it’s paying a steeper price in more precious currency: customer opinions. A new report from KLAS Research reveals that 66% of eClinicalWorks customers say their opinion of the company is lower than it was when the settlement was announced in May (with 26% saying their opinion of eClinicalWorks “significantly worsened”). Perhaps even more disturbing for the company, aroundRead More
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of for Civil Rights (HHS OCR) has made it very clear that it’s the operator’s responsibility to police its own data policies—even among employees. Memorial Healthcare Systems (MHS) found that out the hard way, and now has to pay HHS $5.5 million to settle “potential violations” of HIPAA’s Privacy and Security rules, and to implement a “robust” 3-year corrective action plan and resolution agreement. HHS came down hard on the company for long-term breaches engineered by employees to facilitate identity theftRead More
Alabama says it’s just trying to protect its coffers from being pilfered by criminals, but the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is taking a hard look at how the state is handling cases of alleged fraud by Medicaid enrollees. The state acknowledges that it rejects people who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid funding if those individuals “have been found” to have engaged in fraud—even if they were never convicted of a crime, which is where CMS says the state may be overstepping its bounds. CMS posted a noticeRead More
One side will say it’s a restoration of freedom of speech for doctors concerned about a legitimate public health issue. The other will say it’s a step down the slippery slope toward unfair restrictions on the right to bear arms. Either way, a federal appeals court says physicians in Florida are free to ask patients if they own a gun whether the question is medically relevant at the time or not. The decision effectively overturns the Firearm Owners Privacy Act (FOPA), which maintains that asking patients about gun ownership constitutesRead More

Posted On December 28, 2016By JUCMIn Legal

Check with Counsel on 2017 Employment Law Updates

New state and local laws will take effect come the New Year all around the country. In Illinois, for example, one new law pertains to urgent care centers, specifically; it mandates that all locations display notices regarding human trafficking in a conspicuous place. More broadly, urgent care operations that provide occupational medicine services will certainly need to keep abreast of legal requirements in the states and municipalities where they practice, but all urgent care companies should ensure they’re in compliance in their role as employers, as well. Employee handbooks andRead More
“Surprise” bills are a common complaint among patients who’ve visited freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs). While that hasn’t stopped their growth, billing practices have become the subject of pending legislation around the country—and, now, one basis of a suit against Adeptus Health, the nation’s largest operator of FSEDs. The Oklahoma Law Enforcement Pension (OLEP) has initiated a class action lawsuit against Adeptus, its private equity firm, and its officers related to its secondary stock offering, claiming that the company engages in predatory billing practices. In court papers filed in the U.S.Read More
The case of a Canton, MI urgent care provider charged with 22 counts of medical fraud should serve as a cautionary tale and a reminder that unethical (or even just plain sloppy) billing practices can land operators, office staff, and physicians in hot water—or even jail. The physician in the Michigan case stands accused of billing Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield for services he didn’t provide, resulting in nine counts of Medicaid fraud, 12 counts of healthcare fraud, and one count of running a continuing criminal enterprise. He couldRead More
Recently we told you more than 300 people were charged with healthcare fraud involving some $900 million in false billings. Surely some were out to juke the system, but others were probably guilty of nothing more than poor compliance practices. Either way, the government is likely to continue cracking down on this multibillion dollar waste, making it a prudent time to shore up your own compliance program (as required under the Affordable Care Act [ACA, or “Obamacare”] anyway). Following are seven “core elements” the ACA recommends for an effective complianceRead More