Practice/Industry Group Overview
Navigating through the never-ending roadblocks in the practice of medicine can be a daunting process. Duane Morris attorneys have formed a special group devoted to dealing with the specific challenges faced by physicians and physician practices. In the complex health care environment, physicians can rely on one of our Duane Morris practitioners to address health care related legal issues that will allow physician practices to grow and thrive through their business relationships and their practice management.
Duane Morris attorneys have experience in negotiating and building business relationships to help physicians and their practices grow. Duane Morris attorneys can, and do, assist physicians on a daily basis in their relationships with hospitals, joint ventures, credentialing, or resulting litigation matters. We also assist physicians in the dissolution of medical groups and restructuring of new organizations.
Our attorneys counsel physicians through Stark and Anti-Kickback laws and assist physicians in assuring that their agreements and business relationships comply with these statutes and their regulations. Furthermore, our attorneys counsel physicians on protecting their businesses through non-compete agreements, favorable contract terms and terminology, tax planning and tax compliance, as well as proper counseling related to Medicare, Medicaid, and other third-party reimbursement.
Because of the experience of our attorneys in healthcare law, assisting physicians to form the correct corporate structure that will allow physician practices to flourish is an important factor in our representation.
Corporate and Regulatory Counseling
In addition to counseling physicians on the myriad of healthcare fraud and abuse laws, including Stark, Anti-Kickback, and the False Claims Act, our attorneys are skilled in counseling physicians regarding various licensure and state regulatory requirements. Whether meeting particular safe harbors, or dealing with physician recruitment and other exceptions, Duane Morris attorneys are well versed in these fraud and abuse laws and their exceptions. From state anti-kickback and state self-referral prohibitions to compliance with particular state medical practice laws, Duane Morris attorneys can assist physicians to meet the regulatory challenges that face modern day physician practices. Our attorneys are experienced in representing physicians in actions by state licensure boards seeking to impose sanctions (i.e., license probation, suspension, revocation, etc.) and other disciplinary action against physicians. Duane Morris attorneys represent clients in hearings, administrative proceedings and National Practitioner Data Bank matters. Our attorneys are experienced in defending white collar criminal investigations in all stages, from responding to grand jury or regulatory subpoenas through trial.
We routinely work with medical practice groups in acquiring other practices or groups, in selling their practices to hospitals or other providers, and assisting with joint venture arrangements from formation to closing. Duane Morris attorneys have substantial experience in structuring or advising on such asset or stock transactions to protect the value of the practice our clients have built. Our attorneys negotiate purchase agreements to protect the value of the transaction of our physician clients and to ensure a successful closing. We also provide counseling on structuring physician syndication agreements and negotiating and closing electronic medical record (electronic health record (EHR)) transactions.
With the tightening reins of lowered reimbursement for services and an increase in health care fraud and abuse investigations by the government, Duane Morris attorneys assist providers in Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement disputes and challenges from all other public and private payors. Whether the matter involves recoupment of payments, penalties for improper billing, or penalties resulting from government investigation into billing practices, our attorneys have experience in handling these enforcement matters to protect physicians and their practices from the complexities of the health care regulatory quagmire.
We assist physicians in developing relationships and contracting with other physician groups, hospitals, or other entities through employment agreements, independent contractor agreements, exclusive provider agreements, physician syndication agreements, joint venture agreements with hospitals or clinics, or other agreements with health care entities and insurers. Our attorneys counsel physicians on negotiating their own contracts, or assist with negotiating on the physician's behalf. Our talented attorneys assist physicians in reducing liability through physician contracting with an eye toward drafting effective and fair non-competition or other restrictive covenant clauses. We also are wary of potential pitfalls in physician contracting that have begun to appear in the corporate practice of medicine, and regulatory issues with employment and benefits pertaining solely to physicians.
In the face of regulatory hurdles, modern day physicians must also deal with managed care organizations and the financial impact such organizations can have on their practices. Duane Morris attorneys can assist physicians to effectively contract with managed care organizations and attempt to equalize the playing field in negotiating third-party reimbursement.
Our attorneys have considerable experience negotiating contracts for physicians who typically do not have the time or the expertise to negotiate with large managed care organizations. Appropriate contract language can go a long way in protecting physicians against liability and assisting them to ensure proper payment under important managed care agreements.
Credentialing and Medical Staff Issues
Duane Morris attorneys have experience counseling physicians in hospital/physician relationships, credentialing and medical staff issues. Whether it is a medical staff dispute, compliance with bylaws, or responding to inquiries, Duane Morris attorneys can help. Our attorneys have extensive experience with medical staff fair hearings and federal and state litigation involving staff privileges.
Our attorneys have the ability to resolve disputes with disruptive physicians and have supported physicians through credentialing processes, whether for hospital medical staffs or managed care organizations. We routinely assist physicians in resolving disputes, allowing physicians to continue to practice medicine without worrying about administrative burdens or interference.
Built on the core strength of its litigators, Duane Morris attorneys are regularly involved in the defense and representation of healthcare providers in regulatory, civil and criminal proceedings. From investigations to jury trials, our litigators are experienced in representing physicians and their practices in all state and federal courts, as well as administrative law forums. We also have experience in preparing physician and other health care witnesses in existing litigation and investigations, and in emerging disputes. Our attorneys counsel clients on using litigation as a last resort and, when engaging in litigation, we represent physicians and practice groups with the advocacy they need in health care today.
As parties become disillusioned with the traditional litigation process, more and more providers, payors, and institutions are turning to mediation and arbitration to resolve their disputes. We also have experience in drafting and interpreting arbitration or mediation clauses in physician contracts. Our attorneys serve as arbitrators and mediators in major disputes and routinely arbitrate disputes on behalf of physicians and physician groups as the need arises with the American Health Lawyers Association and the American Arbitration Association. Our attorneys assist physicians in negotiating, litigating or arbitrating against managed care companies to enforce the rights they may have under existing or previous contracts with the managed care organizations.
Managing a physician practice is no easy task. Duane Morris health lawyers assist physician practices in their everyday contracting, compliance, employee relations, employee benefits, and even immigration issues. Advising clients on the latest developments in health care law, our attorneys are at the forefront of assisting physicians in avoiding problems that prevent their practices from growing.
Labor and Employment
Labor and employment issues can become an unwanted distraction from patient care. And yet, physician practices are uniquely dependent on good employees to administer that care, ensure proper payment and support the practice. Physician practices value the services provided by our Labor and Employment group in helping them manage their office and office staff to anticipate and avoid difficult labor and employment issues before they grow into seriously distracting problems or litigation.
Duane Morris' attorneys have extensive experience providing counsel on, among others, wage and hour issues, problems or complaints about harassment and discrimination, retaliation and whistleblowers, hiring, firing and disciplinary actions, disability accommodations and/or leave issues, impairment and drug testing, non-compete and trade secrets and the wide variety of other workplace matters that arise in medical practices. Duane Morris attorneys regularly review, develop and improve human resources systems and provide training to both supervisors and staff with an aim toward preventing employment problems. Our representation also includes setting up and monitoring employee benefit plans, profit sharing plans, and pension plans that are up to date with IRS, ERISA and other regulatory requirements.
Duane Morris attorneys have extensive experience defending physician practices in all manner of employment litigation and administrative matters. To name a few, we have successfully defended and/or resolved many cases on behalf of physicians or medical practices involving serious allegations of sexual harassment, gender and pregnancy discrimination, race, national origin and age discrimination or harassment, disability claims, wage and hour and overtime claims, retaliation and whistleblower claims and non-compete lawsuits. We appear in federal and state courts as well as before the many federal, state and local agencies that enforce employment laws, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, state and local fair employment agencies, U.S. and state Departments of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, state unemployment and workers' compensation agencies and others.
Whether involving nurses or physicians, Duane Morris' cadre of talented immigration attorneys can assist physicians with J-1 and H-1B visas, other employment or educational visas, and can work with health care providers to meet the varied demands of a modern workforce. Whether you require our assistance in completing the paperwork with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or with other government entities, our attorneys can assist with all types of immigration matters to meet the needs of Health Systems, Hospitals and other large or small health care providers.
Our attorneys have particular experience in assisting physicians and their employers in navigating the J-1 visa waiver process for physicians who will work in medically underserved areas, including applying for proper work authorization, and permanent residence in the United States. They also have experience in working with hospitals and recruiters to bring nurses to the United States from abroad.
Our attorneys often advise clients on the myriad of privacy laws that physicians must deal with on a daily basis in their medical practice. Engaging in proper business practices that comply with state privacy laws on patient information, as well as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy, security and transactions rules, is crucial for physicians to avoid fines, penalties, and lawsuits. Our attorneys are experienced in dealing with healthcare privacy matters and counseling physicians in an efficient manner.
Our attorneys have experience counseling clients on various aspects of technology in health care, including telemedicine. Physicians are constantly on the forefront of technological advancements in medicine and Duane Morris attorneys regularly counsel physicians in their technological endeavors. Our attorneys counsel physicians on the myriad of licensure, regulatory, fraud and abuse, and billing issues confronting physicians in the telemedicine arena, and the interaction of telemedicine with electronic medical records or EHRs.
A critical part of any physician practice is its corporate compliance plan. Duane Morris attorneys recognize the importance of corporate compliance plans and have tailored corporate compliance plans to fit both the size, practice, and budget of physicians today.
Our attorneys have experience in self-disclosure of fraud and abuse to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) as well as defending against fraud and abuse claims brought on behalf of the government against physicians and physician groups. Our representation of physicians extends to dealing with government agencies including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, OIG, IRS, State Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and the FBI. With the level of scrutiny of healthcare practices today, Duane Morris attorneys are prepared to assist physicians in every aspect of their daily medical practice.