Lawsuits in a healthcare practice are sometimes unavoidable, although they can be minimized.
Nitin Chhoda states that everyone in the health care practice must be knowledgeable enough to avoid ignorance and negligence of the practice which can affect its performance.
Any practice owner knows how quickly they can run afoul of the healthcare practice management system and require the services of an attorney.
Horror stories abound about clinics that have been forced into bankruptcy or completely out of business due to patient lawsuits or failure to comply with the many complicated state and federal regulations that must be met.
Good healthcare practice management takes into account the endless possibilities for legal issues that can crop up. At some point during every clinician’s career, they’re going to need expert legal counsel.
Some clinics retain the services of legal representation on staff, but it can present a financial hardship for small practices with limited assets and budgets. Most therapists think in terms of patient lawsuits, while the specter of regulatory blunders usually doesn’t enter their field of vision.
Most practices encounter issues with HIPAA regulations concerning violations of privacy, failure to respond to inquiries by Medicaid, fraud and the handling of overpayments. There are specific procedures for dealing with each instance and healthcare practice management therapists often don’t even realize they’ve made a mistake or are in violation.
The most common way therapists encounter legal problems is through HIPAA regulations. It’s essential for at least one healthcare practice management staff member to have a thorough understanding of HIPAA rules as they represent the most common mistakes and are the easiest to avoid. It’s money well spent for the overall good of the clinic and will save countless headaches in the future.
HIPAA and HITECH Laws
In combination with adherence to HIPAA regulations, therapists face risks through the HITECH Act. The act provides funding for more vigorous oversight, allowing infractions and violations to be located quicker.
The HITECH Act also imposes stiffer fines and penalties for those healthcare practice management that is caught violating any part of HIPAA regulations.
Contracts are part and parcel of healthcare practice management. Therapists will enter into contracts with staff members, hospitals, physicians, labs and product vendors.
The list is virtually endless. One of the most frequently encountered problems is the non-competition clause. The term can take on endless meanings for a practice, depending on who the clinic owner is contracting with and if the other party is offering similar services to multiple providers.
The best way to avoid healthcare practice management potential problems is to ensure all communications are open, honest and every nuance is clearly spelled out in detail. That’s where legal representation becomes an invaluable resource for eliminating misunderstandings and conflicts.
Lawsuits initiated by patients are always a possibility and they can be particularly devastating for small practices.
Even if the therapist wins the case, it can cost a practice dearly in terms of clients, reputation, lost revenue, and the funds to defend against the charges.
Everyone Must Be Knowledgeable
Everyone within the healthcare practice management clinic should be knowledgeable about the potential for lawsuits and how they can work to avoid them. Disgruntled employees are nothing new, but in a world of online videos and social networking sites, clinicians should be aware of the damage that can be wrought by an employee lawsuit.
They can cost a practice as dearly as a client’s litigation. When facing legal action by a healthcare practice management staff member, never say anything to incriminate the practice, stand by the clinic’s policies, and never underestimate the potential for disaster. Some situations will benefit from the services of a mediator and may even help therapists avoid a lawsuit entirely.
Legal blunders in healthcare practice management can be avoided if practice owners are vigilant and take definitive steps to keep staff informed about how lawsuits can arise and the part they play in the process. The same is true of HIPAA regulations. Enlisting the services of a single individual fully versed in HIPAA requirements will save clinics money and help them maintain a sterling reputation.