Showing posts with label physician. Show all posts
Showing posts with label physician. Show all posts

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lloyd’s of London (Lloyd’s) Attorneys, Lawyers and Defense Council in Florida

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


Often we learn after the fact that a health professional such as physicians, nurses, podiatrists, psychologists and other health professionals has received Lloyd’s of London Insurance, has had a legal problem, and has not been able to locate an attorney or law firm that accepts this type of insurance. We have offices in Florida and Colorado, but we have attorneys licensed in Florida, Colorado, Louisiana, the District of Columbia, Virginia and other states.

Additionally, we can provide legal advice and representation in license investigations and administrative proceedings in many other states.

If you have Lloyd’s of London Insurance, do not go without an attorney or with a lawyer that has little or no experience where you need it.

The Health Law Firm Will Work with Your Insurance Company.

Call us first. We can assist you in determining if your legal problem is covered by your insurance, and we can help you file a claim to have your legal defense expenses and costs covered. In most cases, we will accept the assignment of your insurance so that you do not have to worry about legal bills while your case is going on.

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.

In cases in which the health care professional has professional liability insurance or general liability insurance which provides coverage for such matters, we will seek to obtain coverage by your insurance company and will attempt to have your legal fees and expenses covered by your insurance company. We will agree to take an assignment of your insurance policy proceeds in order to be able to submit our bills directly to your insurance company, if your insurance company will allow this. Many of these insurers will pay our firm to represent you in the legal defense of an investigation or complaint against your professional (nursing, medical, dental, psychology, mental health counselor) license or for an administrative hearing involving professional discipline.

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

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.



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 © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is It Legal to Require a Flu Shot for Health Professionals?

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

The warnings have been loud and clear from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This influenza season is off to an early and serious start. With that in mind, a number of states are requiring all health professionals in the state to receive the flu vaccination. Some of those opposed to getting vaccinated are being fired by hospitals and health facilities. Because of this, a controversy is arising between employee rights and patient safety, according to a number of news sources.

Click here to read more on this year’s flu season from the CDC.


Hospitals Want to Keep Patients Safe and Healthy.
In December 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced a 10-year agenda to improve the nation’s health. It’s called Healthy People 2020. A part of this agenda calls for a ninety percent (90%) average vaccination rate of health professionals. Click here to read the press release on the Healthy People 2020 initiative from the DHHS.

According to an American Medical News article, there’s a push in the medical community to meet this goal as soon as possible. The CDC states that as of November 18, 2011, close to eighty-four percent (84%) of doctors in the U.S. had been immunized against influenza. The CDC is praising these doctors for this high number, hoping other health professionals and the public will follow suit.

The safety of patients is the chief reason for the mandate. In an ABC News article, one Indiana hospital said that it implemented the mandatory vaccine in September of 2012, to promote patient safety. Of the hospital’s 26,000 employees statewide, ninety-five percent (95%) have complied.


Some Employees Fired for Refusing to Get a Flu Shot.
A large majority of employees at the Indiana hospital complied with the mandate; however, 1,300 employees did not. According to ABC News, eight employees, including at least three veteran nurses, were allegedly fired because they refused to get a flu vaccine.

The fired nurses are standing their ground, saying they should have the right to refuse the flu vaccine. One nurse had filed two medical exemption requests, a religious exemption request and two appeals. All were denied by the hospital. To read more on this story from ABC News, click here.

In October 2012, Rhode Island mandated immunizations for all health care workers who have patient contact. On December 6, 2012, a health care worker union filed a federal lawsuit against the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) to prevent it from implementing the regulations, according to a Fierce Healthcare article. Click here to read the entire Fierce Healthcare article.


How Groups are Fighting Back.

The attorney representing the Indiana nurses, who were fired, states that his clients had the right to refuse their flu shots. He argues Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits religious discrimination against employees. The attorney is suggesting religion is legally broad under the First Amendment, so it can include any strongly held belief. According to a Chicago Tribune article, in 2009 New York mandated flu shots for all health workers, during the H1N1 outbreak. Unions fought the issue in court, and the state has since relaxed the rule.


Flu Shots in Florida.
I’ve recently received calls from several local health care professionals working in different Florida hospitals, regarding refusing flu shots and other vaccinations. I’ve also read the news stories about Tampa General Hospital and Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa requiring employees to receive the influenza vaccine. According to the news articles, the two Tampa health facilities require employees who refuse the flu shot to wear surgical masks.

However, the states and hospitals may not back down in this case. The issue may have to be decided by the courts. I promise to write more on this topic later.


Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Professionals and Providers.
At the Health Law Firm we provide legal services for all health care providers and professionals. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, Durable Medical Equipment suppliers, medical students and interns, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, pain management clinics, nursing homes, and any other health care provider. We represent facilities, individuals, groups and institutions in contracts, sales, mergers and acquisitions.

The services we provide include reviewing and negotiating contracts, business transactions, professional license defense, representation in investigations, credential defense, representation in peer review and clinical privileges hearings, Medicare and Medicaid audits, commercial litigation, and administrative hearings.

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


What Do You Think?
What do you think of mandated flu shots for health care workers? Is receiving a flu shot mandatory at your job? As a health care professional, do you think it is important to receive a flu shot? Is there enough medical evidence to justify firing health care professionals for not receiving the flu shot? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.


Sources:
Lupkin, Sydney. “Nurses Fire for Refusing Flu Shot.” ABC News. (January 3, 2013). From: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/indiana-hospital-fires-nurses-refusing-flu-shot/story?id=18116967
Moyer, Christine. “More Physicians on Track to get Flu Shots.” American Medical News. (December 14, 2012). From: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/12/10/hlsb1214.htm
Cheung-Larivee, Karen. “Health Unions Sue Over Mandated Flu Shots.” Fierce Healthcare. (December 10, 2012). From: http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/health-unions-sue-over-mandated-flu-shots/2012-12-10


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.

"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 © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Regulations Coming to Seminole County Pain Management Clinics

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
Seminole County, Florida, is the latest county to adopt tightened regulations for pain management clinics. On November 13, 2012, County Commissioners unanimously voted to adopt the ordinance enacting Chapter 186 of the Seminole County Code to establish regulations regarding pain management clinics.
Click here to read the entire Seminole County ordinance.
County Commissioners hope these new regulations will aid law enforcement in fighting illegal pill mill operations in Florida.


Restrictions to Prevent Overprescribing.

The ordinance requires clinics to get a license, produce monthly reports on how many prescriptions are issued for controlled substances and report patient information, such as a patient’s address. This only applies to practices where doctors issue prescriptions for painkillers such as oxycodone to more than 20 patients a day. It does not pertain to hospitals and other major medical facilities.
Anyone violating the regulations can be charged with a misdemeanor and lose his or her business license.


Some Physicians Not Happy.
The Orlando Sentinel interviewed a Boca Raton doctor who specializes in pain management. The doctor reportedly believes the regulations are helping to curb drug overdoses, but stated the regulations also limit legitimate board-certified medical specialists. He believes many Florida doctors are ready to move out of the Sunshine State and go to another state with fewer regulations.
To read the Orlando Sentinel article, click here.


Another Counties Putting Restrictions in Place.
At the end of October 2012, Osceola County Commissioners voted to adopt a similar ordinance. I wrote previously wrote about that story, click here to read that blog.
In addition to Osceola County, Winter Park, Sanford, Oviedo and Maitland have opted to enact ordinances that regulate pain management clinics’ location and operation.


Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.

 

 The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, pain management doctors, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid 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 www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Comments?



As a healthcare professional, what do you think of this ordinance? Have you thought about leaving Florida due to the new regulations? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.


Sources:
Comas, Martin. “Seminole Tightens Regulations for Pain Management Clinics.” Orlando Sentinel. (November 13, 2012). From: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/seminole/os-pain-management-clinics-seminole-20121112,0,7626282.story

Seminole County Government. “Ordinance Chapter 186.” Seminole County Government. (November 13, 2012). From: http://www.thehealthlawfirm.com/uploads/Pain%20Management%20Ordinance.pdf


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.


"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 © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Arrests New York Doctor on Alleged Drug Charges

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


A raid by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on November 27, 2012, at a New York home led to the arrest of an emergency room (ER) doctor, according to a number of sources. Once inside, agents allegedly found crack cocaine, crack pipes, needles and other drug paraphernalia belonging to the doctor. It’s reported by The Buffalo News that the raid came just as the alleged drug abuser was getting ready to smoke a crack cocaine pipe.


Click here to read the entire article from The Buffalo News.


Doctor's Companion Allegedly Assisted DEA Agents in Arrest.
According to a press release from the DEA, the doctor had been under investigation for weeks. Agents wanted to work quickly on this case since they knew the doctor worked at a number of hospitals in Niagara County, New York.


The press release states that DEA agents stopped a vehicle driven by the doctor’s female companion and caught her in possession of crack cocaine. The woman told agents that she purchased the drugs for the ER doctor, and that they were going to use them that night. The DEA obtained a search warrant and raided the doctor’s house the same night.


To read the entire press release from the DEA, click here.


The Doctor is Now Facing Charges.
Bond for the doctor has been set at $5,000. Possessing crack cocaine carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $10,000 fine.



Other Alleged Drug Abuse.
I recently wrote a blog on a Florida dentist who had her license suspended for allegedly abusing nitrous oxide or laughing gas in front of patients. To read that blog, click here.


As in all media reports, please remember that all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with DEA Cases.
The Health Law Firm represents physicians, pharmacists, pharmacies, 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.


If you are aware of an investigation of you or your practice, or if you have been contacted by the DEA or DOH, contact an experienced health law attorney immediately.



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


Comments?
What do you think about this story? Is there an industry-wide problem with health providers abusing drugs? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.


Sources:
Herbeck, Dan. “DEA Raid Ends with ER Doctor in Trouble Over Crack Cocaine.” The Buffalo News. (November 28, 2012). From: http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121128/CITYANDREGION/121129271/1003


Guggenmos, Emily. “ER Doctor Faces Crack Cocaine Charge.” WIVB. (November 29, 2012). From: http://www.wivb.com/dpp/news/crime/er-doctor-faces-crack-cocaine-charge


Drug Enforcement Administration. “Physician Charged with Possessing Crack Cocaine.” DEA New York City Division. (November 28, 2012). From: http://www.justice.gov/dea/divisions/nyc/2012/nyc112812a.shtml


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.



"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 © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.
 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Not Being Used by Doctors

By Danielle M. Murray, J.D.
The Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is apparently collecting dust as physicians are choosing not to use it. The Tampa Bay Times reported on October 5, 2012, that as few as one in twelve doctors have ever used the database. That is about eight percent (8%) of all physicians. Approximately fourteen percent (14%) of physicians are registered for the database.
Click here to read the entire story from the Tampa Bay Times.


Physicians Not Required to Use Database.
Physicians interviewed for the article said the problem is that database use is not mandatory. Physicians are not required to review the database prior to accepting a new patient, or prior to giving out a prescription.  Some physicians said they would ask the pharmacy or check the local arrest records if they had a suspicion that the patient was abusing drugs or "doctor shopping."
One potential reason that physicians may not check the database is simply that they don't want to know.  If they know a patient is abusing prescription drugs, then that patient has to be sent away, and that is a loss of business. Another reason could be some doctors may not know the database exists, and other doctors may simply be too busy to bother.


Database Succeeds in Other States.
The prescription drug database in Kentucky had a similar usage problem until the state made it mandatory for physicians to check the database.  A mandatory law in Ohio resulted in shock when physicians saw the reality of the large number of prescription drug abusers in their practices.
For the foreseeable future, using the database will not be mandatory for physicians. However, physicians should consider using the database, or otherwise remaining vigilant to avoid being labeled an overprescriber.
For legal tips for working with pain patients, click here.


Using the Database for Prosecution.
From my perspective, I have seen the database in Florida used mostly as a tool for prosecution of pain management physicians and pharmacists. Even in cases where the pharmacist has been the one to notify the authorities of suspected forged prescriptions and where the pharmacist has cooperated in prosecuting the criminals, I have seen this database cited as evidence against him or her. I do not believe this is what the legislation intended.


Contact an Experienced Health Law Attorney.
As a health care professional, you may one day be charged with overprescribing narcotics or even criminally charged in the death of a patient due to their drug habits. If you are contacted by the Department of Health (DOH) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), do not sign anything or make any statements to anyone. Call an experienced health law attorney to learn about your rights in such a case.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Comments?
As a physician, do you use the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program? Why or why not? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.


Source:
Cox, John Woodrow, "Florida Drug Database Intended to Save Lives is Barely Used by Doctors." Tampa Bay Times. October 7, 2012. From: http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/florida-drug-database-intended-to-save-lives-is-barely-used-by-doctors/1255062


About the Author: Danielle M. Murray 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 Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
 
 
"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 © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Polk County Sheriff’s Office Issues 25 Arrest Warrants In Connection to Pill Mill




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

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office issued 25 arrest warrants in connection to an ongoing pill mill investigation involving a medical clinic in Winter Haven, Florida. On September 19, 2012, the sheriff’s office announced that ten suspects in the case have been arrested, and 15 suspects with arrest warrants remain at large.

Click here to see the press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.



Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Used to Nab Suspects.

Last year the state launched the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which requires doctors and pharmacists who dispense controlled substances to report the information to a statewide database.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the database was used to round up those associated with the Winter Haven medical clinic.

In an article in the News Chief, deputies said 13 of the suspects were allegedly acting as “smurfs” (people hired by a drug ring to take fake prescriptions to be filled, then turning the pills over to the ring). Another 12 people were accused of “doctor shopping,” which is the practice of going to multiple doctors to get many prescriptions for narcotics.

To read the entire article from the News Chief, click here.

This case was investigated by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLF), the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Attorney General’s (AG) Office.

“These people are giving the smurfs a bad name,” Papa Smurf stated. “We should be happy that law enforcement is doing a good job rounding up the read ‘bad guys,’”added Brainy Smurf.


Help for Physicians to Manage Pain Patients.
Doctors, pharmacists and all healthcare professionals who are involved in schemes relating to overprescribing or trafficking in narcotics may be targeted by many different agencies.


We have represented physicians who have been the subjects of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations. The DEA will often use undercover agents and informants to pose as patients, wired for audio recording. The DEA will often work with local law enforcement authorities and the Department of Health (DOH).
Other investigations and arrests may be initiated by a statewide prosecutor’s office, which is under the Attorney General (AG). Still others have been initiated by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) where Medicaid funds are used.

Click here to see an article on our website with tips for to help manage pain patients.

Give us your thoughts on this story below.

 
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Providers in DOH Cases.
The Health Law Firm represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses, and other health care providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH), and other law enforcement agencies.

If you are aware of an investigation of you or your practice, or if you have been contacted by the DEA or DOH, contact an experienced health law attorney immediately.

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


Sources:
Parody, Clifford. “25 Warrants Issued in Ongoing Pill Mill Case.” News Chief. (September 20, 2012). From: http://www.newschief.com/article/20120920/NEWS/209205012

Pavuk, Amy. “25 Arrest Warrants Issued in Pill-Mill Probe.” Orlando Sentinel. (September 19, 2012). From: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-09-19/news/os-polk-pill-mill-arrests-20120919_1_pill-mill-probe-arrest-warrants-fraudulent-prescriptions

Eleazer, Carrie. “25 Arrest Warrants Issued in Connection to On-Going Pill Mill Investigation.” Polk County Sheriff’s Office. (September 19, 2012). From: http://www.polksheriff.org/NewsRoom/News%20Releases/Pages/09-19-2012.aspx


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.

 
"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 © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.





Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Part 2: You Might be a Disruptive Physician If...

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

This is the second blog dedicated to physicians who are accused of being a disruptive.



To read part 1 on the types of conduct that might make you a "disruptive physician," click here.


Effects of Disruptive Physician Behavior.
According to one article on the subject by a physician leader, the consequences of disruptive behavior by a physician in a hospital are as follows:

Disruptive physicians undermine morale, diminish productivity and quality of patient care, and cause work environment distress leading to heightened employee turnover.  One survey found that most nurses believe physician disruptive behavior causes stress, frustration, impaired concentration, reduced collaboration and communication, and potentially negative patient outcomes.  Another survey found that nurses see a direct link between physician disruptive behavior and nurse satisfaction, retention, and the quality of the nurse-physician relationship. Other consequences of disruptive physician behavior include disciplinary actions, dysfunctional physician colleague activities (e.g., coverage, leadership, peer review, referral, etc), and compromised communication within and efficiency of healthcare teams.  (References omitted.)
To see the entire article, click here.

"Disruptive Conduct" by the Physician Will be Linked to Patient Safety.
Hospitals and medical staffs are being inculcated with the idea that "disruptive behavior" by a physician undermines patient safety and is a risk to patient care.  This will be the basis to support action against a physician's medical staff membership and clinical privileges in a privileging action by the medical staff.  It will also be relied upon by the state medical board if a complaint is filed against the physician's medical license.  It will also be the basis of upholding a legal challenge if the physician challenges the medical staff action in court.  The courts will usually defer to the medical staff of the hospital in such matters and not want to overturn its decision.

If you want to see what hospital and physician executives think about disruptive physicians and how to deal with them, click on this article.


Keep Yourself on Track.
Know what is considered to be conduct that exemplifies a "disruptive physician."  Avoid outbursts of anger; they may make you feel better in the short run, but in the long run, you are hurting yourself.  Hold your tongue.  Avoid sayings anything that one could take offense to. If you are so weak willed that you cannot control yourself, maybe you do have a problem.

No one lives in a glass house, but pretend you do.  Always think that someone can overhear or oversee what you do or say in the hospital.  Everyone is human; everyone has shortcomings, even you.  If you become known as a disruptive physician, everyone will be looking for anything you do wrong, and they will find it.
If you receive any complaints or reports insinuating that you are being tagged as a disruptive physician, whether it is informal counseling by a colleague or a formal warning in writing, take immediate actions to address the concerns.  This may include, for example:

1.  Educating yourself about the issue with the articles that appear on the internet.
 


2.  Seek professional counseling; maybe you do have too much stress or an anger management problem.
 


3.  Seek assistance from an experienced health attorney;  you may be being set up for subsequent adverse clinical privileging action.
 


4.  Avoid every type of conduct listed above.
 


5.  Respond to the complaint or counseling, but do so with your attorney.  You must keep an even, objective, neutral, non-accusatory tone to your response and not attempt to point a finger at others.  Avoid the temptation to do so.
 


6.  Read our other blogs and articles on this on our website.


Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.
The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid 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 www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


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.

 
"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 © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Part 1: You Might Be A Disruptive Physician If...


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


I have never read a Jeff Foxworthy book, and I have never watched more than a minute or two of one of his comedy routines, so my apologies to him in advance.

However, I find his comedy routine about rednecks (or what I know of the little bit I have heard) to be a good vehicle for conveying what might be a joke to many, but should be taken very seriously, especially  by one accused of being a disruptive physician.


Are the Complaints Unjustified?

In my decades of representing physicians, I have encountered cases where false complaints have been generated by the economic competitor of a physician with the medical staff of a hospital, in order to eliminate his competition.  I have experienced cases where administrative personnel and nursing staff have conspired to generate complaints against a physician who was too demanding and unpopular with the nurses.  I have seen unjustified complaints encouraged against physicians who have demanded only quality treatment for their patients.  So it does not surprise me when I am consulted by a physician who claims he or she is the subject of trumped up and unjustified complaints, especially those as subjective as being "disruptive."

Unfortunately, identifying and eliminating the disruptive physician has become a recent goal of many hospitals.  This has become a "hot button" among hospital administrators, medical staff leaders and credentials committees.

Being proven to be a "disruptive physician" may lead to adverse action against clinical privileges (resulting in a National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) report), action to drop the physician from insurance panels, adverse action by the state medical board, loss of specialty certification, and other consequences.


Conduct That Might Label You a "Disruptive Physician."

According to reported cases and our experience in these matters, you might be labeled a disruptive physician if:

1.  You use profanity in the work place.
2.  You "yell at" or raise your voice to a nurse.
3.  You threaten a hospital employee with having him or her fired.
4.  You berate or "put down" a nurse or other staff.
5.  You insinuate that a hospital employee is stupid.
6.  You throw anything, anywhere in the presence of anybody, in the hospital.
7.  You slam down anything (chart, coffee cup, lid to photocopier, etc.), anywhere in the presence of anybody, in the hospital.
8.  You knock over anything (gumball machine, lamp, computer, etc.), anywhere in the presence of anybody, in the hospital.
9.  You refer to anyone else as fat, stupid, lazy, "dumb blondes" or any other demeaning label.
10.  You make sexually suggestive (or sexually explicit) comments and remarks in the presence of anybody else, anywhere in the hospital.
11.  If you break anything (including the glass on the photocopier, the television in the doctors' lounge, etc.).
12.  If you threaten a hospital employee with filing an incident report against him or her.
13.  If you pull down the television set off of the wall in the waiting room and throw it down on the floor breaking it.
14.  If you push a gurney into someone else in the hospital knocking her or him down.
15.  If you "accidentally" drop a scalpel and it sticks into the foot of the scrub nurse in the operating room.
16.  If you accidentally kick a bucket of bloody lap pads and it "accidentally" hits the nurse in the head and cuts her head open in the operating room.
17.  If you are an on-call physician and you yell at the nurse on duty when he calls you at home and wakes you up at 4:00 a.m., and tell him not to call you again.
18.  If you go to a nurse's supervisor and complain that the nurse is incompetent and should be removed.
19.  You throw a surgical instrument "in the direction of" an operating room nurse because she handed you the wrong one.
20.  You let it be known that you refuse to refer patients to another medical staff member because you consider him or her to be incompetent.
21.  You tell sexually suggestive, racist, discriminatory or off-color jokes in the presence of anyone else, anywhere, at anytime in the hospital.
22.  You refuse to work with nurses or technicians on the hospital staff because they are incompetent.
23.  You refuse to follow established hospital protocols, policies or procedures, whether written or informal, because you don't have to.
24.  When you are confronted with a mistake, a bad outcome, a complaint by staff against you or a request for input on a peer review of one of your patients, you blame the person making the complaint or report, and point out the shortcomings and lack of skill of others on the staff.
25.  Physically threatening or merely intimidating others, including by insinuating that something bad might befall them.
26.  Bullying or attempting to bully or intimidate others.
27.  Passive aggressive conduct like refusing to attend mandatory department meetings, refusing to complete charts, refusing to respond to phone calls and pages, refusing to answer questions of others, refusing to complete forms and reports, advising that it is not your job or that you are not on call any longer.
28.  Retaliate against any other physician or hospital staff member who has reported you for violation of the code of conduct or for investigation of an incident.
29.  Making negative or derogatory comments about other physicians or hospital staff members in front of any other person, at anytime, anywhere in the hospital.
30.  Telling nurses, other staff members or patients that you don't care or don't want to hear what they have to say.




Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with Investigations of Health Professionals and Providers.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists and other health providers in Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, FBI investigations, Medicare investigations, Medicaid 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 www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


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.

"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 © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office Issued 25 Arrest Warrants in Connection with Alleged Pill Mill

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office issued 25 arrest warrants in connection to an ongoing pill mill investigation involving a medical clinic in Winter Haven, Florida. On September 19, 2012, the sheriff’s office announced that ten suspects in the case have been arrested, and 15 suspects with arrest warrants remain at large.
Click here to see the press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Suspects Were Nabbed with the Use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.
Last year the state launched the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which requires doctors and pharmacists who dispense controlled substances to report the information to a statewide database.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the database was used to round up those associated with the Winter Haven medical clinic.
In an article in the News Chief, deputies said 13 of the suspects were allegedly acting as “smurfs” (people hired by a drug ring to take fake prescriptions to be filled, then turning the pills over to the ring). Another 12 people were accused of “doctor shopping,” which is the practice of going to multiple doctors to get many prescriptions for narcotics.
To read the entire article from the News Chief, click here.
This case was investigated by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLF), the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Attorney General’s (AG) Office.
“These people are giving the smurfs a bad name,” Papa Smurf state. “We should be happy that law enforcement is doing a good job rounding up the read ‘bad guys,’”added Brainy Smurf.
Free Legal Advice: Tips for Physicians to Manage Pain Patients.
Doctors, pharmacists and all healthcare professionals who are involved in schemes relating to overprescribing or trafficking in narcotics may be targeted by many different agencies.
 
We have represented physicians who have been the subjects of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations. The DEA will often use undercover agents and informants to pose as patients, wired for audio recording. The DEA will often work with local law enforcement authorities and the Department of Health (DOH).
Other investigations and arrests may be initiated by a statewide prosecutor’s office, which is under the Attorney General (AG). Still others have been initiated by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) where Medicaid funds are used.
Click here to see an article on our website with tips for to help manage pain patients.
Give us your thoughts on this story below.
 

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Providers in DOH Cases.
The Health Law Firm represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses, and other health care providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH), and other law enforcement agencies.
If you are aware of an investigation of you or your practice, or if you have been contacted by the DEA or DOH, contact an experienced health law attorney immediately.

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

Sources:
Parody, Clifford. “25 Warrants Issued in Ongoing Pill Mill Case.” News Chief. (September 20, 2012). From: http://www.newschief.com/article/20120920/NEWS/209205012
Pavuk, Amy. “25 Arrest Warrants Issued in Pill-Mill Probe.” Orlando Sentinel. (September 19, 2012). From: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-09-19/news/os-polk-pill-mill-arrests-20120919_1_pill-mill-probe-arrest-warrants-fraudulent-prescriptions
Eleazer, Carrie. “25 Arrest Warrants Issued in Connection to On-Going Pill Mill Investigation.” Polk County Sheriff’s Office. (September 19, 2012). From: http://www.polksheriff.org/NewsRoom/News%20Releases/Pages/09-19-2012.aspx

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.
 
"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 © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Doctor Reliniquishes License Due to Allegations of Malpractice and Over-Prescribing Oxycodone Pills

By Danielle M. Murray, J.D., Attorney, The Health Law Firm

A doctor in Polk County, Florida, has lost his license to practice medicine. Rather than risk having his license revoked in an administrative proceeding, the now former doctor offered to voluntarily relinquish his license. The Florida Board of Medicine voted to accept the voluntary relinquishment on Friday, August 3, 2012, according to a Lakeland Ledger article.

Click here to read the entire Lakeland Ledger article.


Doctor Nabbed in Sting Operation for Allegedly Prescribing Oxycodone to Undercover Police Officers.
The article states the doctor from Winter Haven was nabbed in a sting operation in 2010 after allegedly providing prescriptions for oxycodone to undercover police officers without actually performing a valid medical examination. The physician allegedly pled no contest to trafficking oxycodone and illegal delivery of a controlled substance. He is currently awaiting sentencing for his offenses, which may result in three to seven years in prison, along with five years of probation, and mental health counseling.
He was also a named suspect in the deaths of five patients who allegedly overdosed on the medications. Prosecutors decided not to pursue homicide charges.

Doctor Also Faced Malpractice Investigation by the Florida Department of Health.
The doctor, who practiced internal medicine, also faced a malpractice investigation by the Florida Department of Health (DOH). According to the DOH, he is accused of mismanagement of a former patient’s care. That patient allegedly developed an aggressive form of prostate cancer as a result. A subsequent doctor who treated the patient ordered a biopsy and diagnosed the patient with prostate cancer that was far advanced.
To read the entire case from the DOH, click here.

Repercussions of Voluntarily Relinquishing a Medical License.
We almost always counsel our clients to refrain from voluntarily relinquishing their medical licenses in such circumstances. A voluntary relinquishment of a license in the face of a pending investigation is treated, for all practical purposes, the same as a disciplinary revocation.
The consequences will usually include:

1. Mandatory report to the National Practitioner Data Base (NPDB) (Note:  Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank or HIPDB recently folded into NPDB) which remains there for 50 years.

 2. Any other states or jurisdictions in which the client has a license will also initiate action against him or her in that jurisdiction.  (Note:  I have had two clients who had licenses in seven other states).

 3. Action to revoke, suspend or take other action against the clinical privileges and medical staff membership of those licensed health professionals who may have such in a hospital, ambulatory surgical center, skilled nursing facility, or staff model HMO or clinic.

 4. The OIG of HHS will take action to exclude the provider from the Medicare Program.  If this occurs (and most of these offense require mandatory exclusion) the provider will be placed on the List of Excluded Individuals and Entities (LEIE) maintained by the HHS OIG.

 5. If the above occurs, the provider is also automatically "debarred" or prohibited from participating in any capacity in any federal contracting and is placed on the U.S. General Services Administration's (GSA's) debarment list.

 6. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will act to revoke the
 professional's DEA registration if he or she has one.

 7. The board certified health professional's certifying organization will act to revoke his or her certification.

For more reasons why a health care provider should not relinquish a professional license, click here.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Providers in DOH Cases.
The Health Law Firm 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.

If you are aware of an investigation of you or your practice, or if you have been contacted by the DEA or DOH, contact an experienced health law attorney immediately.

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

Sources:
 
Adams, Robin. “Two Polk Doctors Relinquish Licenses to Board of Medicine.” Lakeland Ledger. (August 3, 2012). From: http://www.theledger.com/article/20120803/NEWS/120809775?tc=ar
Adams, Robin. “Winter Haven Doctor Faces Medical Board Action for Trafficking in Oxycodone.” Lakeland Ledger. (August 2, 2012). From: http://www.theledger.com/article/20120802/NEWS/120809855/1001/BUSINESS?Title=Winter-Haven-Doctor-Faces-Medical-Board-Action-for-Trafficking-in-Oxycodone
Pleasant, Matthew. “Winter Haven Doctor Won't Face Murder Charges in Overdose Deaths.” Lakeland Ledger. (March 29, 2011). From:
http://www.theledger.com/article/20110329/NEWS/110329349
Fields, Tammie. “Dr. Ernesto Juan Perez Arrested, Named Murder Suspect.” WTSP. (October 29, 2010). From: http://www.wtsp.com/news/topstories/story.aspx?storyid=153540
Aycrigga, George. “Drug Sting Nabs Dr. Perez; Oxycodone Charges Filed.” News Chief. (October 30,2010). From: http://www.newschief.com/article/20101030/news/10305009

About the Author: Danielle M. Murray 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 Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

"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 © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Investigation Links Two Central Florida Physicians to Statewide Pill-Mill Network

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

An Orlando and Jacksonville physician have been linked to a statewide pill-mill operation that brought in millions of dollars to pain clinic owners and doctors, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

On June 27, 2012 seven doctors and seven pain clinic owners were arrested in the raid that was dubbed "Operation Pill Street Blues.” The two-year, multiagency investigation into the pill-mill operation spanned from Miami to Pensacola. The investigation included the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Florida law enforcement.

To view the DEA's press release concerning the investigation, click here.

Pompano Firefighter Alleged Head of Pill Mill.

Investigators named a 32-year-old Pompano Beach firefighter as the pill-mill’s ring leader. He allegedly used his image as a city firefighter and paramedic to develop a clean reputation with the local law enforcement.

He allegedly told his co-conspirators how to turn in other rogue doctors, pain clinics, and patients who abused drugs to authorities, so that their business would appear legitimate.

Pill-Mill Recruits Prescribed More than Two Million Oxycodone Pills in One Year.

Doctors recruited by the pill-mill network would allegedly write prescriptions to patients who did not have a medical need for the drugs or would prescribe excessive amounts of pills.

The seven doctors in the organization allegedly dispensed more than two million oxycodone tablets in one year. The Orlando and Jacksonville doctors allegedly prescribed more than 930,000 oxycodone pills between the two of them in a nine-month period.

Both Local Doctors Examined Undercover Detectives Posing as Patients During the Investigation.

Both doctors were visited by undercover detectives posing as patients. The Jacksonville doctor examined a detective who complained of minor back pain. She allegedly issued prescriptions for oxycodone and other drugs, even though the detective had no observable medical issues.

The affidavit details other undercover doctor visits, including those with the Orlando doctor at a pain management clinic in Fort Meyers. The initial exam between the doctor and the undercover detective allegedly lasted less than three minutes, before he gave the detective a prescription for oxycodone and other drugs.

Charges Range from Racketeering to Manslaughter.

Those arrested for alleged involvement in the pill-mill scheme face charges ranging from racketeering, to trafficking of a controlled substance, to manslaughter.

On June 26, 2012, the day before authorities announced the charges, the Department of Health suspended the doctors’ licenses.

Pain management doctors click here to see if you’re in compliance with the recent changes to Florida’s pain management laws.

Patients with Severe Pain Conditions Cannot Find Relief.

A former patient of a Vero Beach doctor arrested in the sting is one of hundreds who were prescribed strong narcotic pain medications at the alleged pill mills. Now she’s having a hard time finding the medications she needs to treat her conditions, including: a herniated disk, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. All of her conditions are listed in medical records and cause her severe pain. She is trying to find another doctor that is willing to prescribe her the medications she needs to function.

This situation is familiar to many patients in Florida with true medical need for prescription pain medications. These patients are finding it increasingly difficult to even locate a physician to treat them. Medical ethicists have commented on this problem, saying it is an issue that will become increasingly problematic for the foreseeable future.

To read more on operation “Pill Street Blue,” click here.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with DEA Cases.

The Health Law Firm 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.
If you are aware of an investigation of you or your practice, or if you have been contacted by the DEA or DOH, contact an experienced health law attorney immediately.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources Include:

Pavuk, Amy. "Authorities Link Orlando doctor, Daytona Clinic to Pill-Mill Network." Orlando Sentinel. (July 14, 2012). From: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-07-14/news/os-fernando-valle-pill-mill-network-20120714_1_pain-clinics-pill-mill-network-clinic-owners

Gordon, Lynn. “Former Patient of Vero Beach Doctor Arrested in Pill Mill Bust Talks."WPEC-TV. (July 17, 2012). From:http://www.cbs12.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_1092.shtml

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.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Medical Marijuana Legalized in Connecticut: Will More Regulatory Actions Against Doctors Occur?

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

Connecticut recently legalized the medical use of marijuana. The state's governor signed into law HB 5389 on May 31, 2012, which allows licensed physicians to certify a patient's use of marijuana for medical purposes. Connecticut is the 17th state to legalize marijuana for medical use.

To view Connecticut HB 5389, click here.

Restrictions Imposed on Patients in Connecticut's Medical Marijuana Legislation.

The new law puts in place restrictions to prevent abuse of the substance. Patients and caregivers in Connecticut must register with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. In addition, a doctor must certify there is a medical need for marijuana to be dispensed. HB 5389’s qualifying medical conditions are cancer, glaucoma, HIV, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries causing spasticity, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, and PTSD. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection is authorized to add additional medical conditions.

Pharmacists Must Have Special License to Dispense Marijuana for Medical Use.

According to HB 5389, only a pharmacist with a special license can dispense medical marijuana. Pharmacists can obtain marijuana from licensed producers, who will pay an application fee of at least $25,000.

Most of HB 5389 Goes Into Effect on October 1, 2012.

The majority of the bill will go into effect on October 1, 2012, including a provision to allow patients to obtain a temporary registration to possess marijuana while the department implements the remainder of the act.

New Legislation Could Mean More Issues for Physicians, Pharmacists.

The passing of HB 5389 could mean more issues for physicians and pharmacists in Connecticut. Because the bill places many restrictions on the medical use of marijuana, the state may closely monitor the actions of physicians and pharmacists who prescribe and dispense medical marijuana.

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 Include:
Clark, Mary Ellen. "Connecticut is the 17th State to Legalize Marijuana for Medical Use." Reuters. (June 1, 2012). From http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/01/us-usa-marijuana-connecticut-idUSBRE85018X20120601

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.  http://www.thehealthlawfirm.com/  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

Friday, June 15, 2012

New York Doctors, Nurse Practitioner Arrested in Crackdown on Prescription Drug Abuse

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

A New York law enforcement crackdown on prescription drug abuse has resulted in the arrests of 98 people. Among those charged are two doctors and a nurse practitioner.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors joined with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), district attorney's offices, and local law enforcement agencies, to carry out a series of raids that began June 5, 2012 and resulted in the arrests.

To view the DEA's press release concerning the raid, click here.

Doctors Involved in Crackdown Accused of Overprescribing.

One of the doctors is accused of conspiring to distribute oxycodone to patients that were not legitimate. Allegedly, the doctor surrendered his DEA registration. This terminated his authority to prescribe controlled substances such as oxycodone. However, he allegedly attempted to use other health care practitioners to continue to prescribe drugs, which the government contends is illegal.

Another doctor involved in the crackdown is charged with illegal distribution of oxycodone. During the execution of a federal search warrant at his offices on March 1, 2012, the doctor voluntarily surrendered his DEA registration. However, he allegedly continued to issue prescriptions to those whom he knew were not legitimate patients.

We continually warn against "voluntarily relinquishing" DEA registrations or medical licenses with any investigation pending as this is treated the same as a revocation in most cases. For an article we have written on this, click here.

Florida Has Recently Experienced Similar Prescription Drug Abuse Crackdowns.

Starting around two years ago, Florida health providers involved in narcotics precribing became routine targets for law enforcement. This was part of a concerted effort by state and federal officials to crackdown on "pill mill" operations. Regulations increased. Lawmakers enacted severe penalties for doctors and other health professionals accused of over-prescribing. Most physicians were banned from dispensing drugs in their offices. The governor created a Florida drug "strike force" with a mission to eliminate any pain clinics that were found to be breaking the law. The Florida Surgeon General and the Board of Medicine made announcements about the "crackdown" on "over-prescribing."

Since the implementation of the new pain management and prescribing laws, the Florida strike force has made thousands of arrests and seized millions of pills of narcotics. This has resulted in serious concerns by those in the pain management profession.

Law Enforcement Continues to Pursue Physicians, Pharmacists, Nurses and Other Health Providers.

The recent raid in New York and ongoing actions in Florida demonstrate that law enforcement will continue to pursue health professionals who prescribe large amounts of narcotics.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced with DEA Cases and Overprescribing Allegations.

The Health Law Firm 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 Include:

Allen, Jonathon. "Doctors Arrested in New York Prescription Drug Crackdown." Reuters. (June 7, 2012). From
http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/06/06/usa-crime-painkillers-idINL1E8H6E3J20120606

CBS News. "98 Arrested in NY Prescription Drug Sweep." CBS News. (June 6, 2012). From
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57448268/dozens-arrested-in-ny-prescription-drug-bust/

McKenzie-Mulvey, Erin. "U.S. Attorney Lynch, District Attorneys, DEA, Other Law Enforcement Announce Prescription Drug Initiative." Drug Enforcement Administration. (June 7, 2012). Press Release. From:
http://www.justice.gov/dea/pubs/states/newsrel/2012/nyc060712a.html

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.  http://www.thehealthlawfirm.com/  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

Friday, May 18, 2012

DEA's "Cases Against Doctors" List Available Online

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

Did you know that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has a public list of physicians with DEA registrations that have been arrested and prosecuted? On the DEA's website, there is a list of all investigations of physician registrants in which the DEA was involved that resulted in the arrest and prosecution of the registrant which was updated and released on April 3, 2012.

The list includes:
• The name of the physician;
• The physician's city/state;
• Date of arrest/conviction;
• Judicial status;
• Conviction;
• Status of the physician's DEA registration; and
• Remarks regarding the physician's case.
Click here to view a copy of the most recent list (last updated on April 3, 2012).
We cannot vouch for the validity of the information on the DEA's list. We just know it was published.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling DEA Cases.
The attorneys of The Health Law Firm are experienced in representing health care providers in DEA cases. If you are currently being investigated or facing other adverse action by the DEA contact one of our attorneys by calling (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001. You can also visit our website for more information at http://www.thehealthlawfirm.com/.
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.  http://www.thehealthlawfirm.com/  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.