Legal Category

Posted On October 13, 2017By JUCMIn Legal

Social Media Claims Can Be Fodder for Litigation

Walgreens, which has established a presence in the retail clinic market by outsourcing most such operations in its stores to third parties, is upping the ante on direct patient care with plans to open higher-acuity walk-in clinics in Las Vegas this year. More on the order of an urgent care center, including the capability to provide x-rays and offer stitches, the four locations will be operated by MedExpress and connected to existing Walgreens drugstores, but have separate entrances. Urgent care insiders have questioned whether there is adequate room in existingRead 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
Washington’s attorney general has filed suit against St. Joseph Medical Center, charging that the hospital has illegally withheld “charity care” from tens of thousands of low-income Tacoma-area residents for years. Specifically, AG Bob Ferguson says St. Joseph has erected “obstacles” that inhibit providing care to patients who may have trouble affording it. State laws in Washington require hospitals to verify the income of prospective charity patients, but allegedly St. Joseph staff were directed to ask for multiple income documents, rather than the one required by law. In addition, the suitRead More
Medically necessary is hard to define to universal approval, with insurers and healthcare professionals often being on opposite sides. Some shady service providers are looking for ways to exploit that divide for their own profit, sometimes leaving urgent care operators at risk for penalties, potentially. Right now, some allergy companies “offer” to help practices initiate allergy testing and immunotherapy services; the company places an employee on site to handle the allergy tests and facilitate immunotherapy—in other words, the operator is enticed by the prospect of being able to offer aRead More
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
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