About thehealthlawfirm

The Health Law Firm was established in 1999, bringing together a team of top attorneys with decades of experience in the legal and healthcare fields. Based in Orlando, Florida, the firm provides legal representation for healthcare providers. The services we provide include reviewing and negotiating contracts, business transactions, defense of professional licensing cases, representation in investigations, defense in credentialing matters, Medicare and Medicaid audits, opinion letters, commercial litigation, covenants-not-to-compete, restrictive covenant litigation, incorporation, formation of corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs), Board of Medicine hearings, peer review actions, Board of Dentistry cases, Department of Health investigations, pain management and pain medicine physician defense, pain management clinic defense, Zone Program Integrity Contractor (ZPIC) audit defense, Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) audit defense, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) defense, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) search warrant and subpoena defense, Department of Health (DOH) subpoena defense, representation in clinical privileges hearings, representation before the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) representation, United States Medical Licensing Examination (U.S.M.L.E.) challenges and representation, all types of commercial and business litigation, administrative hearings, negotiation of contracts and other matters of Health Law and legal representation of health care professionals.

Compromised Physician or Health Care Provider Identities

3 Indest-2009-2By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Do you know what a “compromised physician” or “compromised health provider” is?  It may not be what you think it is.

The term is used seldom to allude to doctors, health professionals and health facilities whose identities and billing numbers have been stolen and have been or are being utilized by convicts to falsely bill Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare and health care coverage programs for services never rendered.

Stolen Medical Identities

Once in a while, these “compromised healthcare providers” have their identifying information ordered into lists which are sold or exchanged from one criminal to the next. This may wind up causing thousands of false claims to be submitted using their identification.  This could cause millions of dollars in taxpayer money or in health insurance proceeds to be paid out to thieves.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) maintains a list of compromised providers that is used to screen for any claim submitted under that providers identification, including prescriptions, orders for durable medical equipment, orders for home health services, orders for diagnostic tests and other services paid by a third party payer.  CMS estimates that there are approximately 5,000 providers whose medical identities have been stolen and used to submit false claims.  A physician may be on this list and not even know it until his or her claims start being denied.

In 2011, Cybil G. Roehrenbeck of the American Medical Association wrote a good article explaining the entire problem in detail.  I highly recommend that you review it and you can do so by clicking here.

Helpful Resources

CMS has published a “Fraud, Waste and Abuse Toolkit” to help physicians and other health care providers prevent the false use of their billing information.  It is titled:  “Health Care Fraud and Program Integrity: An Overview for Providers.”  It also has several other informational publications on how physicians and other health professionals can avoid identity theft.  You can access these publications by clicking here:

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:
Roehrenbeck, Cybil. “Physician Identity Theft.” ABA Health eSource. (October 2011). Web.

“Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Toolkit.” Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services.(July 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: health care fraud defense attorney, compromised physician list, compromised health provider attorney, The Health Law Firm reviews, The Florida Bar in Health Law, Medicare fraud defense attorney, The Health Law Firm, Medicaid fraud defense attorney, consumer reports of Medicare fraud, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) audit attorney, Medicaid investigation defense lawyer, Medicare investigation defense lawyer, reviews of The Health Law Firm, legal representation for health care fraud charges, false claims act case legal representation, whistle blower claims attorney

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Nursing Home and Hospital Blamed for Woman’s Death

3 Indest-2009-2By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On December 1, 2016, the family of a mentally ill woman, Diane Rimert, who died of pneumonia, urged a Texas jury to find a nursing home and a hospital liable for her death. The family alleged that the nursing home neglected her and that the hospital wrongfully recognized a do-not-resuscitate document that she signed while unable to care for herself.

Suffering From Mental Illness.

Rimert lived with severe bipolar disorder and delusions. She lived the last years of her life in a Pennsylvania rehabilitation nursing home after she was arrested and involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.

Rimert Living In Poor Conditions In The Nursing Home.

Jeffrey D. Antonson of Adkerson Hauder & Benzey PC, an attorney for Rimert’s three adult children, told jurors in Dallas County that Rimert developed severe bedsores in her feet and lower half of her body, stating that this confirmed she had been neglected. The attorney claimed there was also proof that Rimert was left in her own excrement until her flesh began to decay and this took away her body’s ability to fend off pneumonia, he said.

Final Days.

Rimert was taken to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, where she was left to die because she had signed what appeared to be a valid legal documents concerning her end-of-life decisions. She signed the documents when she first arrived at the nursing home when, it is alleged, she was mentally ill. The document stated that she did not want to be rescuscitated and gave her medical power of attorney to her neighbor rather than her children. She died in February 2012.

Attorney Anderson stated: “What makes sense here? Is a mentally ill woman — bipolar disorder, with psychosis, a woman who had delusions that she was different people — is she responsible for her own suffering and for her own death? Or is there one or more of the defendants sitting before you that is responsible for her suffering and her death?”

Attorney George Michael Stewart of Stewart Wiegand & Owens, PC, representing the nursing home, argued that Rimert was generally an uncooperative patient and although she was mentally ill, she was deemed competent when she signed the do-not-resuscitate and medical power-of-attorney documents. “Every patient in this country has the right to refuse treatment, mentally ill or not,” he said. “The reality is, this was her choice. She decided long ago that, ‘I didn’t want to be rescuscitated, I didn’t want feeding tubes’ … even if it wasn’t a rational decision for her, it was her right to make that decision.”

Stewart also stated that Rimert’s children, who are seeking compensation for the loss of their mother, had suffered serious abuse at her hand since they were small and were mostly estranged from her. Rimert always became violent and enraged in the presence of one of her sons, and she had last seen her daughter in 1996, he said.

Stewart said they lost their mother a long time ago to the mental illness, not pneumonia.

Comment by Editor

This is certainly a tragic case. And Ms. Rimert, if she really understood what she was signing at the time (and that is a big problem if counselors and intake coordinators in these institutions are not adequately explaining end-of-life decision documents to their new residents), it was her right to make the decision. The law presumes every person is competent until a court declares her to be mentally incompetent. But as ill as she apparently was, this seems to be a real question.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses and other health providers in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) investigations, Medicare Audit defense, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Source :
Lowery, Brandon. “Nursing Home, Hospital Caused Woman’s Death, Jury Told.” Law360. (Dec. 1, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: reviews of The Health Law Firm, health care lawyer, representation for mental health professionals, The Health Law Firm reviews, health law attorney, legal representation for health care professionals, health care provider defense attorney, The Health Law Firm, mental health counselor defense attorney, psychologist defense attorney, legal advice for skilled nursing facilities, nursing home defense counsel, board of mental health counselors defense lawyer, board of psychology defense attorney, complex mental health litigation attorney, psychiatrist defense counsel, complex litigation on health care issues

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers and Family Therapists: Be Sure You Carry Insurance to Cover Complaints Against Your Licenses

3 Indest-2009-2By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Mental health counselors, psychologists, social workers and family therapists are at high risk of having a client or patient file a complaint against them with their licensing board, as we have learned from experience.

Many of their clients/patients have mental health problems, emotional problems or personality disorders; this is why they are seeing a therapist to begin with. If there is a dispute among the therapist and the client/patient over treatment, diagnosis or other issues, this can easily result in that patient filing a complaint.

We have also seen complaints that were filed when a therapist is retained to evaluate someone for a court proceeding, for vocational rehabilitation programs, for disability insurance and for other types of evaluations where the person is not the client or the patient of the therapist.

Situations to Be Aware of As a Mental Health Counselor, Psychologist, Social Worker and Family Therapist.

Many complaints seem to arise out of situations in which the therapist has socialized with the client or patient. Socializing with a client or patient should be strictly avoided.

Divorces, custody disputes and other family law matters have resulted in an increase in the number of complaints filed against therapists.

If one parent disagrees with an evaluation in a child custody dispute, this may result in a complaint against the professional with the licensing board. We have experienced cases in which family law attorneys have suggested to their clients that they file such complaints in a misguided attempted to have that therapist disqualified from giving an opinion or intimidated into withdrawing.

Steps to Take to Help Alleviate the Consequences of a Complaint Against Your License.

Defending oneself in the investigation of a complaint against your license can be expensive and time consuming. There are two primary actions that can be taken to help alleviate the consequences of such actions by disgruntled clients/patients.

Step 1. Be sure you have and maintain good professional liability insurance that provides professional license defense expense coverage of at least $25,000. You can easily spend this amount in legal fees to successfully defend yourself, even from a completely meritless complaint. This type of insurance is cheap and easy to obtain. Two insurers we know to provide this are Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) and Lloyd’s of London. Check with your insurance agents for others.

Step 2. Immediately retain the services of an attorney who has experience with your type of case and with your professional board. Ask for numbers of cases and outcomes. Usually this will be a health law attorney or administrative law attorney, but make sure the attorney has experience with your board. Many states now recognize the legal specialty of health law. In these states, you want an attorney that is board certified in health law.
Discipline is Forever-Hire an Attorney to Help.

Hire an attorney as soon as you suspect there may be a complaint or an investigation. Do not attempt to do this yourself. Do not make any statement, oral or written, to any investigator until you consult with an attorney. The simplest statement can be used against you to help prove a charge resulting in discipline on your license.

Discipline is for life. Don’t take a chance.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced Investigations of Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers and Family Therapists.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to mental health counselors, psychologists, social workers and family therapists in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, FBI investigations and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers. To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, Family Therapists, license complaint, professional liability insurance, Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO), Lloyd’s of London, complaint against mental health counselor, complaint against psychologist, complaint against a social worker, complaint against a family therapist, board of psychology, investigation of a mental health counselor, investigation of a psychologist, investigation of a social worker, investigation of a family therapist, licensing board, health law, health law attorney, health care lawyer, lawyer, attorney

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Major Health Care Reform Bill On FDA Approvals, Mental Health Policy Clears House

8 Indest-2008-5By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On November 30, 2016, the House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act. The new bill overwhelmingly passed wide-ranging legislation meant to overhaul the drug approval process, boost biomedical research, and many other significant health-related policies.

The Bill.

The bill would change research prioritization and medication review rules at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Additionally, it would push medication development rules for a variety of items including new antibiotics to medical devices. The mental health reforms, originally developed in Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Reform Act of 2016, would create a greater emphasis on evidence-based mental health treatments. It aims to increase cooperation between federal agencies on mental health policy.

The bill passed with a 392-26 vote, largely supported by Republican National Committee (GOP) leaders like whip Steve Scalise, R-La. Scalise called the legislation an advance that would save millions of lives and move medical innovation back to U.S. shores.

Providing Additional Funding.

In addition to the push for medical development, the bill also encompasses a host of other big initiatives. This includes more than $5 billion in funding for the NIH and money to help the FDA; $1 billion for tackling the opioid epidemic; and provisions that are meant to help pair Americans who suffer from serious mental illnesses with available psychiatric beds.

The bill is expected to pass the Senate by the beginning of December 2016.

To learn more about the importance of raising awareness about mental health issues, click here to read one of my prior blogs on this topic.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in the Representation of Psychiatrists, Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Marital and Family Therapists.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to psychiatrists, mental health counselors, psychologists, social workers and family therapists in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, medical malpractice investigations, business transactions, contracts, structuring business ventures, clinical privileges actions, professional licensure matters, Board hearings, business litigation, Medicare and Medicaid audits, and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

Often the early advice and representation of an experienced health law attorney can help avoid discipline which will be on your record for a lifetime.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Mukherjee, Sy. “House Just Passed the Biggest Health Reform Bill Since Obamacare.” Fortune. (November 30, 2016). Web.

Macagnone, Michael. “Bill On FDA Approvals, Mental Health Policy Clears House.” Law360. (November 30, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Legal representation for mental health professionals, legal representation for medical development, mental health defense lawyer, legal counsel for mental health counselors and professionals, legal representation for psychiatrists, psychologist defense attorney, reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews, The Health Law Firm, attorney for mental health counselors, psychologist defense attorney, mental health legislation, additional funding for medical development and mental health policies, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigations, FDA investigation defense attorney

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.

Florida Court Denies Motion to End Patient Wrongful Death Suit Despite Settlement

7 Indest-2008-4By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On November 15, 2016, The Florida Supreme Court refused to dismiss a lawsuit over the death of an escaped psychiatric hospital patient for the second time. The suit questions the thin line between medical and ordinary negligence, even though the parties settled their dispute several months ago.

The justices offered no explanation when they denied a motion from defendant-appellee Shands Teaching Hospital and Clinics Inc. (Shands) asking them to reconsider that ruling. Additionally, the court also maintained the same 4-3 split across both orders.

The Background.

The ongoing case stems from the January 23, 2013, death of Ashley Lawson. She escaped from Shands Psychiatric Hospital in Gainesville, and was struck and killed by a tractor trailer on Interstate 75.

According to the facts from the case that was filed, Lawson was admitted to the hospital on November 1, 2012, with a history of psychiatric illness, drug abuse, impulsive behavior and multiple suicide attempts. She was later transferred to the locked inpatient unit for her own safety, according to her estate’s initial jurisdictional brief.

As a result of a Shands employee allegedly leaving her key and badge unattended, Lawson was able to escape. Her estate, bringing the suit on her behalf, argued that the case was one of ordinary negligence and not a medical malpractice case. A medical malpractice case carries various strict presuit requirements under the Florida Medical Malpractice Act, including a presuit notice and the affidavit of a physician expert, which the estate did not provide.

Denied Motion to Dismiss.

The suit made its way to the state’s highest court as the estate sought reversal of a decision by the First District Court of Appeal to quash a lower court’s order that had denied Shands’ motion to dismiss. According to the estate’s brief, the Court of Appeal reviewed the case on its own, reaching its 8 to 6 decision, after a three-judge panel could not reach a definitive result.

Ashley Lawson’s estate argued the First District Court of Appeal’s decision stood in conflict with the Fifth District Court of Appeal’s decision on what constitutes ordinary negligence versus medical malpractice. This conflict would give the Florida Supreme Court the authority to decide what the law actually states.

In the hospital’s defense, Shands argued that the case is not a high-profile matter of great public interest, and has no effect on the “due process rights of life or liberty for a sizable group of Floridians.”

Negligence is one of the most common claims used against doctors. It is important to familiarize yourself with the repercussions and ways to avoid it from happening to you in the first place. Click here to read one of my prior blogs to learn more.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in the Representation of Psychiatrists, Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Marital and Family Therapists.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to psychiatrists, mental health counselors, psychologists, social workers and family therapists in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, medical malpractice investigations, business transactions, contracts, structuring business ventures, clinical privileges actions, professional licensure matters, Board hearings, business litigation, Medicare and Medicaid audits, and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

Often the early advice and representation of an experienced health law attorney can help avoid discipline which will be on your record for a lifetime.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Hale, Nathan. “Fla. High Court Says Deal Doesn’t Stop Patient Death Case.” Law360. (November 28, 2016). Web.

Frellick, Marcia. “Florida Court Rules Physician May Be Liable in Suicide.” Medscape. (August 25, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Legal representation for medical negligence, legal representation for medical malpractice, identifying the difference between medical and ordinary negligence, legal representation for mental health professionals, mental health defense lawyer, legal counsel for mental health counselors and professionals, mental health defense lawyer, legal representation for psychiatrists, psychologist defense attorney, reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews, The Health Law Firm, attorney for mental health counselors, psychologist defense attorney, psychiatry negligence defense counsel

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

The Importance Of The Baker Act

3 Indest-2009-2By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Time after time, we are consulted by family members of individuals who are wrongfully restrained under The Florida Baker Act or who believe their family member is being held without a legitimate reason. The Baker Act, also known as the Florida Mental Health Act, was passed in order to implement programs that are created to “reduce the occurrence, severity, duration, and disabling aspects of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.” Section 394.453, Florida Statutes. Invalid confinement under the Baker Act can take place for numerous reasons. The result, however, is that an independent citizen is confined in violation of his constitutional rights to liberty and privacy.

The Baker Act contains a wide range of provisions ranging from screening, to appointment of legal guardians. But, what the Act is most known for are the involuntary evaluation and confinement provisions for someone who has mental health issues that meet certain criteria. Involuntary confinement because of alcoholism, drug addiction or impairment is addressed in Florida by the Marchman Act, a different law, and is not the subject of this article.

What is Involuntary Evaluation?

Essentially, being Baker Acted means that an individual has displayed some act of behavior that makes it seem as though they have a mental illness. Without seeking proper care or treatment, the individual can be found to neglect and harm themselves or others.

The initial determination can be made by one of three types of people:

(1) A court can issue an order stating the person appears to meet the criteria and can direct that person to be transported to a facility for an involuntary evaluation;

(2) A law enforcement officer can take a person who appears to meet the criteria into custody and transport him/her to a facility for an involuntary evaluation;

(3) A physician, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse, mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist or clinical social worker may execute a certificate stating that he/she has evaluated the person within the last 48 hours and the person appears to meet the criteria for involuntary evaluation.

When a person is the focus of an involuntary examination, they can be detained in a facility for a maximum of 72 hours. During this duration, physicians and counselors will examine and interview the patient to determine his/her mental state. This assists in determining the type and further treatment that may be needed including further involuntary confinement.

The facility must, within the 72 hours, do one of the following things:

(1) Release the patient without condition;

(2) Release the patient for voluntary outpatient treatment;

(3) Request that the patient give consent to being admitted for voluntary inpatient treatment;

(4) File a petition for involuntary placement with the appropriate circuit court when outpatient or inpatient treatment is necessary but the patient refuses to consent.

How to Get Out.

The facility is not, by any means, the only one with the ability to get the court system involved. A patient or the patient’s guardian advocate can file a petition for writ of habeas corpus requesting a hearing regarding release from involuntary confinement.

Before you file a petition, a friend or family member, with the assistance of legal counsel, may be able to help obtain a patient’s release during the 72-hour window. The predominant factor is whether the individual being held is a danger to themselves or others. This means that a family’s plans to address the facility’s concerns through voluntary treatment or the active participation of family can be very effective.

One of the most effective ways to let the facility know that you are serious about getting someone released is to hire an attorney. The mere presence of an attorney along with family members allows the facility to acknowledge there is a support system in place.

The Baker Act specifically states that confinement is not appropriate when any apparent harm “may be avoided through the help of willing family members or friends” Section 394.463(1)(b)(1), Florida Statutes.

The Hearing Process.

If you are unable to obtain a person’s release prior to the facility filing a petition for involuntary confinement, here are some strategies to prepare for the hearing.

(1) Meet with the patient to try to explain the situation and try to prepare them for the hearing by explaining the purpose of the hearing and what questions to expect.

(2) Meet with the facility’s director to try and gauge the institution’s position on further treatment and involuntary confinement. Depending on the plans put in place by the confined person’s family, you may be able to convince the facility to withdraw the petition and discharge the patient.

(3) Meet with the counselors and nurses caring for the patient to discuss their opinions. These people are likely to be key witnesses during the hearing.

(4) Meet with the physician who examined the patient and try to determine why he/she is recommending further treatment. Also, try to discuss alternative treatment plans that would be acceptable so that those arrangements can be made prior to the hearing.

(5) If possible, meet with the assistant state attorney who will be representing the government in the hearing to discuss options. If you can get the treating physician on your side, you may be able to get the government to support a discharge.

Many of these tips require knowledge of the legal system and the medical field. You or your family member stand the best chance of being discharged from a Baker Act confinement if you have experienced legal counsel or a patient advocate to assist. To learn even more about the Baker Act, click here to read one of our past blogs.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in the Representation of Psychiatrists, Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Marital and Family Therapists.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to psychiatrists, mental health counselors, psychologists, social workers and family therapists in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, medical malpractice investigations, business transactions, contracts, structuring business ventures, clinical privileges actions, professional licensure matters, Board hearings, business litigation, Medicare and Medicaid audits, and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.
Often the early advice and representation of an experienced health law attorney can help avoid discipline which will be on your record for a lifetime.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Attorney, Florida Baker Act, Florida Mental Health Act, Baker Act case, defense Baker Act defense, involuntary Baker Act confinement, involuntary confinement in hospital, confinement in Baker Act facility, mental health confinement, petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, Baker Act attorney, reviews for the Health Law Firm, Baker Act lawyer, consumer reports on Florida Baker Act, Health Law Firm reviews, Florida Marchman Act, Baker Act defense counsel, Baker Act defense lawyer, consumer, Baker Act law reports, Baker Act forms, Marchman Act attorney, health law, health law firm, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

U.S. Enforcing Law For Equal Insurance Coverage For Mental and Physical Illnesses

8 Indest-2008-5By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On October 27, 2016, President Obama made one more major health care initiative as his presidency comes to an end. The administration is stepping up enforcement of laws that require equal insurance coverage for mental and physical illnesses. Officials are hoping this decision will help combat an opioid overdose epidemic.

Drug Addiction Equal to Mental Illness.

The White House Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force (Task Force) said that insurers need to understand that coverage for the treatment of drug addiction must be comparable to that for mental health conditions like depression and schizophrenia. According to the administration, insurers may not require prior approval for drugs to treat opioid addiction if they do not impose similar restrictions on drugs prescribed for physical and mental illnesses.

Additionally, the Obama administration said that insurers clearly violated the law if they charged higher co-payments for mental health care or if they imposed stricter limits on the number of visits to mental health care professionals.

Federal laws and rules such as The Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA), have been adopted with bipartisan support, but the Task Force found that compliance in these laws has been slow in being implemented.
The Task Force, which President Obama created in March 2016, called for more frequent audits of health care plans and warned insurers against imposing stricter requirements on mental health services than on other types of medical health care. Click here to read the Presidential Memorandum from the White House about the Task Force.

According to the administration, about one in five American adults experience some kind of mental illness each year. Additionally, more than 20 million American adults have a “substance use disorder” involving drugs or alcohol.

The recognition and proper treatment of mental illness, as well as drug addiction, is extremely important. To learn more, click here to read one of my prior blogs.

To learn more on how others are trying to expand the awareness of mental health, click here to read one of prior blogs on this topic.

If you are a mental health care professional, click here to learn how The Health Law Firm can benefit you.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in the Representation of Psychiatrists, Mental Health Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Marital and Family Therapists.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to psychiatrists, mental health counselors, psychologists, social workers and family therapists in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, medical malpractice investigations, business transactions, contracts, structuring business ventures, clinical privileges actions, professional licensure matters, Board hearings, business litigation, Medicare and Medicaid audits, and other types of investigations of health professionals and providers.

Often the early advice and representation of an experienced health law attorney can help avoid discipline which will be on your record for a lifetime.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Pear, Robert. “U.S. enforcing laws to help fight opioid abuse.” The New York Times. (November 7, 2016). Web.

Gold, Jenny. “Federal Panel Calls For Stricter Enforcement Of Mental Health Care Parity Law.” NPR. (October 31, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.


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