Orthopedic practices, like any other medical specialty, can face allegations of health care fraud. The government pursues these allegations aggressively and, if successful, can request penalties that include millions in payment and potential jail time. Additional ramifications can destroy one's medical career as the allegations can result in investigations from the medical board and loss of one's medical license.
New Jersey lawmakers are looking for a way to better ensure needed health care professionals are available to help provide aid during the current coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers voiced concern that some medical professionals were hesitant to volunteer to help out in hospitals in areas that needed additional assistance managing COVID-19 patients due to liability concerns. In an effort to encourage interested paramedics, doctors and others to join the fight against the virus, lawmakers recently proposed a bill that would relax legal liability.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has allowed Medicare providers to get emergency assistance payments to help maintain financial stability during the coronavirus pandemic. Upon the agency’s first announcement of this change, the administration stated the payments would be provided with “no strings attached.”
The coronavirus pandemic has led to serious cuts for physician private practices throughout the country. Nationwide, stay at home and shelter in place orders have led to a reduction and even elimination of elective medical procedures. This has had a significant impact on the financial footing of physician private practices.
The reduction in non-essential procedures due to the novel coronavirus pandemic has threatened the vitality of private practices and physician groups throughout the nation. These organizations must deal with many hurdles during these uncertain times, including an attempt to manage a dwindling cash flow without negatively impacting their business operations.
Nurses at an outpatient surgery clinic called the police on a doctor that was allegedly intentionally coughing on and hugging nurses. The nurses state the orthopedic surgeon repeatedly acted out in this manner in front of multiple witnesses. A representative speaking on behalf of the nurses states the physician was acting in complete disregard to “space and safety concerns involving the coronavirus pandemic.” The nurses further allege the physician was acting in a manner to intentionally cause “a substantial amount of alarm.” The doctor is not known to currently have the virus.
Practicing medicine takes more than just countless hours of study, passage of exams and additional preparation. In the United States, it also requires an official medical license from the state the doctor wishes to have their practice.
Regulations require physicians have a special license to prescribe controlled substances. The physician who wishes to offer these services to patients must generally receive a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration. Getting such a license generally involves completing requirements that can vary by state. The process is often connected to the state medical license.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently provided guidelines for health care providers who wish to have samples tested for the new coronavirus. The agency states all labs should preform risk assessments to identify and mitigate any potential risks and encourages caution when handling specimens.
Getting notification of an impending lawsuit is a stressful event. It is important for physicians who receive these notices to take the matter seriously, and act to protect their interests. Whether currently navigating a med mal allegation or not, it is wise for every physician to have a basic understanding of how they will handle these types of claims.