Medical Justice® aggressively addresses the interest of doctors within the changing landscape of medical practice. Our mission; to protect our members' most important assets - reputation, character and integrity - against frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits, Internet defamation and unwarranted demands for refunds.



Apr 11 2014

Notes from a Plaintiff’s Attorney: Limiting the liability of patient portals

Published by under Healthcare Reform

In the world of liability exposure, patient portals can be a blessing or a curse.

That is because they close gaps in communication that often lead to complaints and lawsuits but they also create updated standards that have to be met.

For example, through the use of a portal you can get information or inquiries from patients faster and more reliably, but once a communication from a patient has been received into your system you are charged with dealing with it and so you must have a way to bring it to your attention promptly.

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3 responses so far

Apr 04 2014

Notes from a Plaintiff’s Attorney: Reporting a Deficient Physician

Published by under Healthcare Reform

By Dr. JD, a plaintiff’s attorney, practicing in the Northeast

 

We continue our series of articles penned by one attorney, an MD, JD, giving you a view of the world through a malpractice plaintiff attorney’s eyes. This attorney is a seasoned veteran. The series includes a number of pearls on how to stay out of harm’s way. While I do not necessarily agree with 100% of the details of every article, I think the messages are salient, on target, and fully relevant. Please give us your feedback – and let us know if you find the series helpful.

 

The first question you must answer before you consider making a report is what do you actually know?  That you not act without provable good cause is both a moral obligation and your defense if you are later accused of defamation.

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4 responses so far

Mar 28 2014

Notes from a Plaintiff’s Attorney: Taking charge in your case – Impleader and Summary Judgment

Published by under Healthcare Reform

By Dr. JD, a plaintiff’s attorney, practicing in the Northeast

 

We continue our series of articles penned by one attorney, an MD, JD, giving you a view of the world through a malpractice plaintiff attorney’s eyes. This attorney is a seasoned veteran.  The series includes a number of pearls on how to stay out of harm’s way. While I do not necessarily agree with 100% of the details of every article, I think the messages are salient, on target, and fully relevant.  Please give us your feedback – and let us know if you find the series helpful.

 

A defendant doctor has options to change the landscape of the lawsuit against him – impleader and summary judgment.

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3 responses so far

Mar 14 2014

Patient Privacy Breaches: Sexual, Creepy, and Illegal

Published by under Healthcare Reform

by Michael J. Sacopulos, JD (General Counsel Medical Justice / Dental Justice)

Porn Stars Deserve Privacy, Too

Every day seems to bring word of new healthcare privacy breaches. A physician’s laptop goes missing in Illinois. A practice’s system is hacked in Maryland. Old patients’ charts turn up in a landfill in Ohio. Some of these breaches are not only frightening in terms of their ramifications, but they come across like plots of crime shows on TV. Here are some of the dramatic examples.

Porn Star HIV Test Database Leaked

Although porn stars are not typically known for their privacy concerns, they do often use stage names to keep their true identities confidential. In 2011, however, their personal lives were broadcast for the world to see, when medical test results and personal details about thousands of current and former porn performers were leaked.[1]

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Mar 07 2014

Hospital WANTS Legal Case Against It Labeled as Medical Malpractice

Published by under Healthcare Reform

If a patient is injured in a hospital, and a lawsuit emerges, it can fall under the category of “ordinary negligence” or “medical malpractice.” For cases that qualify as legal claims, the vast majority of such claims fall under the category “medical malpractice.”

 

Why does it even matter?

 

The two categories often have different statutes of limitations, damage caps, need for expert testimony, and so on. The cost to pursue the case and the amount of money which can be recovered may vary dramatically.

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5 responses so far

Feb 28 2014

New Federal Minimum Wage Order and Doctors. Does It Affect You?

Published by under Healthcare Reform

At the time of this writing, President Obama signaled he will be signing an Executive Order to increase the wage for workers under new federal contracts from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour.

 

Most doctors, of course, are not federal employees.

 

But, most doctors accept reimbursement from the federal government under Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, etc. If you do participate in such programs, do you have to comply with the new federal minimum wage order?

 

While this is not legal advice, guidance is found on the Department of Labor’s website.

 

Is a hospital or other health care provider covered under the laws enforced by Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) as a result of the reimbursements it receives for medical care and services provided to Medicare or Medicaid patients?

The provider agreements, pursuant to which hospitals and other health care providers receive reimbursement for services covered under Medicare Parts A and B, and the provider agreements that hospitals and other health care facilities have entered into with State Medicaid agencies, are not covered Government contracts under the laws enforced by OFCCP. Accordingly, a hospital or other health care provider is not covered under the laws enforced by OFCCP if its only relationship with the Federal government is as a participating provider under Medicare Parts A and B and Medicaid. Please note that a hospital or other health care provider may be a covered contractor because of other contractual arrangements, such as providing health care to active or retired military under a contract with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or the Department of Defense. Likewise, a teaching hospital doing research for a university that has a contract with the Federal government may be covered.

(emphasis added).

 

So, there you have it.

 

This makes sense. Just because you accept Medicare reimbursement does not mean you automatically become a federal employee for purposes of professional liability. If you were a bona-fide federal employee, you could not be sued directly for medical malpractice. A patient could sue the federal government (your employer) under the Federal Tort Claims Act. But, recovery under that act follows specific procedures and is often limited.

 

While participation in federal government reimbursement programs has myriad rules and regulations…and often makes you tear your hair out, it is likely the new rule addressing minimum wage for federal contractors will not apply to most doctors.

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