discussing Understanding Health Law (or Healthcare Law)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Understanding Health Law (or Healthcare Law)

I am often asked to explain what Health Law--also known as Healthcare Law--means. Health Law can encompass a wide variety of matters, but as it relates to our practice, Health Law involves representing healthcare providers in their business transactions, commercial litigation, or regulatory matters.

Still confused? Think of it this way. Healthcare providers--whether a doctor or a hospital--have all the typical legal needs of any business. They have to have a lease with their landlord or an employment agreement with their staff. But healthcare providers are subject to certain federal and state laws and regulations that apply only to healthcare providers. Even a sublease agreement between two doctors, if not done right, can result in a criminal violation.

With our knowledge of healthcare law, we can help healthcare providers comply with the myriad of regulations that apply to them.

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discussing Tribute to Professor Abraham Abramovsky

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tribute to Professor Abraham Abramovsky

I just found out some terrible news. Professor Abraham Abramovsky has passed away. He was 60, according to an email from Dean Treanor of Fordham University School of Law, where Professor Abramovsky taught.

I had just had lunch with Professor Abramovsky a couple of months ago where we discussed some projects. We were going to hold a seminar for doctors and other healthcare professionals on complying with STARK and the Anti-Kickback laws that apply to healthcare professionals.

It is such a shame to have lost Professor Abramovsky. He was more than my teacher. He gave me my first job in the legal profession; he hired me as assistant to help draft his regular column in the New York Law Journal. When it came time to applying to the big law firms that recruited us at Fordham, Professor Abramovsky gave me the most memorable advice: "Lifestyle matters." His point about the burden of big-firm life on a lawyer's family and friends was well-taken.

Professor Abramovsky was nothing but supportive when I told him about having my own law firm. That's when he suggested we hold that seminar together. I was going to cover the corporate and regulatory aspects of the healthcare laws, and he would cover the criminal aspects. And Professor Abramovsky knew fully well that healthcare professionals do have to worry about criminal laws in their practice.

In the end, Professor Abramovsky was, first and foremost, a father. And he never beamed more than when he would talk about his children. He was naturally proud to talk about how they have followed their father's footsteps. They will surely miss their father. I will surely miss my mentor.

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discussing When a Doctor's Best Friend is a Lawyer

Thursday, July 19, 2007

When a Doctor's Best Friend is a Lawyer

It is not unusual for doctors--or perhaps, anyone--to feel a bit apprehensive about lawyers. But a recent article in a business publication discusses how sometimes a lawyer can be a doctor's best friend.

Yes, some lawyers bring medical malpractice cases against doctors on behalf of their patients. No, most doctors don't care much for those lawyers. As the article published in the Las Vegas Business Press points out, however, there exist other lawyers who help doctors safely navigate "a virtual minefield of state and federal regulations." There are various names for this field of law. Health Law is one. I prefer Healthcare Law.

Healthcare Law (or Health Law, if you prefer) appears to be little understood, as evidenced by the number of questions we receive about this practice area. Healthcare providers--be it, hospitals, nursing homes, or doctor's offices--have all the usual legal needs of any business. They have to have a lease with their landlord. They need employment agreements for their employees. And, they get sued by their vendors, as any business might. Healthcare being a heavily regulated industry, however, healthcare professionals must also comply with a myriad of federal and state regulations. Federal and state self-referral laws (STARK Law). Federal and state anti-kickback law. State professional licensing rules. State public health law. State privacy laws. And, oh yes, HIPAA.

All of these laws and regulations are part of that minefield that the article discusses.

Fortunately, there is some good news. As alluded to in the article, healthcare lawyers are there to walk doctors and other healthcare professionals through the minefield. And there are indeed safe passages through the minefield. Successful passage depends on the doctor and the healthcare lawyer working together. Doctors who fail to reach out to such lawyers, the article says, do so at their own peril.

The article can be found at:

http://www.lvbusinesspress.com/articles/2007/07/13/news/iq_15368884.txt

If you have any questions about a healthcare law matter, please feel free to contact us.

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