The topic of telemedicine is becoming increasingly more common in the medical community.  For certain, telemedicine can be a cost effective way of communicating with and monitoring patients, but it is not without its risks.  For one thing, physicians need to be mindful of the potential for increased malpractice exposure which could come from not seeing a patient in person.  … Continue Reading

Many physicians I speak with are still surprised to learn that the federal Stark statute imposes restrictions on income division within group practices.  These restrictions only apply to profits generated from any of the Stark “designated health services” and only those that are covered by Medicare and Medicaid (including managed care), but if your group provides any of these designated … Continue Reading

Hospital-physician acquisition of medical practices continues at a furious pace.  Unfortunately, no one knows for certain whether physician employment by hospitals is the key to better or more cost-effective care.  Moreover, the hospital or the physician in such a transaction may for any number of reasons decide later on that the relationship is less than desirable.  Because no one can … Continue Reading

Hiring a new physician into a practice can be an expensive and risky proposition but for most practices it is a necessary endeavor.  Aside from the actual costs of recruiting and negotiating a contract with the new physician, there are associated increases in overhead, and perhaps most importantly, the risk of damaging valuable practice goodwill in the community if you … Continue Reading

As the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues in fits and starts, healthcare providers are scrambling to best position themselves to accommodate anticipated and developing payment models.  Unfortunately no one really knows what these new payment models will look like or how they will ultimately work.  It is apparent, however, that most of them (such as the … Continue Reading

The article Pediatricians v Retail Clinics: Is It Time to Think Beyond the Office Visit? published today at time.com, highlights an important shift occurring in the delivery of physician services.  Patients are foregoing their regular physician office visits in favor of  “as-needed” treatment from retail clinics, urgent care centers and walk-in clinics springing up around the Country.  These outlets … Continue Reading

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the “HIPAA Omnibus Rule,” implementing various provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act as the related to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules.  If you are a “covered entity” or “bsuiness associate” under HIPAA, these new rules will have an impact … Continue Reading

Earlier this month the closely watched case of U.S. ex rel Drakeford v Tuomey Healthcare System Inc. (675 F.3d 394 (4th Cir. 2012) concluded with a jury finding that the compensation paid to physicians under certain part-time employment agreements by Tuomey Healthcare System resulted in violations of both the federal False Claims Act and the federal Stark law.

The Stark … Continue Reading

In what would undoubtedly be a devastating blow to many medical practices that rely on the Stark in-office ancillary services exception (which allows physicians to refer within their practices for Stark services), President Obama’s proposed FY 2014 would seek to eliminate the exception for physical therapy, radiation therapy and advanced imaging such as CT and MRI.  The budget suggests that … Continue Reading

Adding an interesting wrinkle to an already complex environment, the Federal Trade Commission filed a suit this month to block an Idaho hospital from acquiring a physician practice.  According to an article on thomsonreuters.com, the FTC and the IDAHO Attorney General have filed an antitrust complaint  seeking to block St. Luke’s Health System’s acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group, a … Continue Reading