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Formal vs. Informal Florida Board of Medicine Hearings: What’s the Difference?

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law Our attorneys often receive calls from health care professionals regarding the possibility of representing them on short notice at a Board hearing or at a deposition related to a health care matter. Often you will find that merely having an experienced attorney to represent you at a […]

Are You Going to a Florida Board of Medicine Meeting? You Might Get Surprised By a DEA Agent!

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M. Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law At several recent Florida Board meetings, after hearings at which disciplinary cases were considered by the Board, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents approached the health professional.  Even in instances where the physician was represented by a health law attorney and he/she was present, the DEA agents confronted the […]

Alabama Doctors’ Pill Mill Convictions Get U.S. Supreme Court Review

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On November 5, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeals of two doctors who were convicted of running a massive opioid “pill mill” operation at their Alabama clinic known as “Pain Specialists of Alabama.” An Alabama federal jury found […]

On the Medicare Exclusion List? Get Off of It!

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law Often a physician, dentist, nurse, or other health professional will be placed on the Medicare List of Excluded Individuals and Entities, or the LEIE. This can occur because of a state licensing board action against them, a conviction involving a health-related crime, failure to repay a […]

Pennsylvania Hospital Asks Court To Dismiss FCA Suit For Billing Simultaneous Surgeries

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On November 2, 2021, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) urged a Pennsylvania federal court to dismiss allegations that its physician and star surgeon submitted false medical billings. Last month, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit alleging that […]

Humana Agrees To Pay $11.2 Million to End Nurses’ Overtime Suit

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On September 27, 2021, Humana agreed to pay $11.2 million to end claims that the health insurance company denied a group of nurses overtime pay by misclassifying them as exempt employees.  A Wisconsin federal judge approved the deal with Humana, and a […]

Utah Nurse Must Face Wrongful Death Suit Says 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On March 3, 2021, the United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, in part, a Utah court’s decision concerning a wrongful death suit on behalf of a 21-year-old inmate.  The court’s  decision affirmed that the jail’s doctor could claim qualified immunity. […]

18 Former NBA Players Indicted For Alleged $4 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On October 7, 2021, 18 former NBA players were charged in New York federal court for an alleged health insurance fraud scheme to rip off the league’s benefit plan, according to an indictment filed in the Southern District of New York.  The defendants […]

Court Rules New York Doctor Can Subpoena Yelp for User Info in Defamation Suit

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On October 7, 2021, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Yelp is subject to a subpoena to reveal the names of anonymous users who left negative reviews for a doctor and his medical practice.  The federal […]

Texas Hospital’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Upheld by Federal Court

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law As some states lift COVID-19 restrictions, the business community is still grappling with the dynamic between the COVID-19 vaccine and workplace operations. To address this, some U.S. employers have elected to adopt mandatory vaccination policies. These policies, in essence, […]

Florida Governor Signs Sweeping COVID-19 Liability Protections Into Law

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On March 29, 2021, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that protects businesses, governments, and healthcare providers in Florida from COVID-19 lawsuits if they make a reasonable effort to follow guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus (whatever that […]

Florida Governor Signs Bill Requiring Licensure of Genetic Counselors

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On June 21, 2021, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law into a bill requiring genetic counselors to be licensed by the Florida Department of Health (“FLDOH”). The Florida Department of Health, Genetic Counseling, was established to ensure that every genetic counselor […]

FBI Denies Claim That Harvard Researcher Requested a Lawyer During Fraud Interrogation

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On August 6, 2021, federal prosecutors pushed back on claims that government agents tricked a Harvard University professor into making incriminating statements during his interrogation by federal agents. Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said a Harvard […]

Office of Inspector General (OIG) Adds New Areas on Annual Work Plan

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law Every year the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), publishes a “Work Plan” disclosing the areas of health practice upon which it intends to concentrate its audit and anti-fraud activities for the upcoming year. This gives a “heads […]

How Much Will My Legal Defense in a Hospital Medical Staff Peer Review Fair Hearing Cost?

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law If you are a physician, nurse practitioner, oral surgeon, dentist, or other health professional with clinical privileges in a hospital, you may face a situation where you are required to defend yourself at a “fair hearing.”  A “fair hearing” is held by the hospital‘s medical staff pursuant […]

Mental Health Counselors and Psychotherapists: Follow These Simple Rules to Keep Your License and Avoid Complaints

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law I represent many mental health counselors, social workers, psychologists, and professional counselors, defending them on complaints being investigated against their professional licenses.  Many complaints and investigations arise because the therapist has strayed over the line and crossed the therapist-client boundary.  In reviewing […]

Finding a Nurses Service Organization Insurance Attorney to Defend You in a Complaint Against Your Nursing License

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law Many nurses, nurse practitioners and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) carry professional malpractice insurance through Nurses Service Organization (NSO) or one of the other similar insurance companies.  This insurance is inexpensive and provides excellent coverage.  What you may not realize, however, is that such insurance provides many added benefits, other than just coverage on nursing […]

Military Non-judicial Punishments or Article 15 Proceedings Are Not Criminal Convictions–Military and Former Military Physicians, Dentists and Nurses Should Know This

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law Our firm represents many military and former military health professionals. We are often asked how a non-judicial punishment or Article 15 proceeding will be treated for license applications, clinical privileges applications, and background screenings. Article 15 Non-judicial Punishment Is Not the Same as a Court-martial or […]

Florida Passes Law for Health Professional Background Screening

By Michael L. Smith, R.R.T., J.D., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law For several years, many healthcare professionals have been required to pass a Level II background check in order to work in most Florida healthcare facilities licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA).  Many healthcare professionals are also required to pass a Level […]

Laws Governing ESAs and Service Animals, Part 3 of 3

By Amanda I. Forbes, J.D. This is part 3 of 3 in a blog series regarding the differences between Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals. Read part 1 and part 2. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal law that “prohibits discrimination in housing because of: race or color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.” (Emphasis added). […]

Former Employee Claims Disability Discrimination In ADA Suit Against Kaiser Permanente

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On November 4, 2020, a former employee of Kaiser Permanente Insurance filed a class-action suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, claiming discrimination.  She says the company required her to take a “competency test” to determine if she […]

Florida Court Sides With University of Miami, Says It’s Immune To Medical Malpractice Suit

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On October 28, 2020, a Florida appeals court tossed out a medical malpractice suit accusing a University of Miami doctor of providing negligent treatment at a public teaching hospital. A panel of the Florida Third District Court of Appeal upheld a circuit judge’s ruling that […]

Three People Charged For $109 Million Scheme to Defraud Medicare, HIPAA Violations

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law In October 2020, Massachusetts federal prosecutors charged three people for their alleged roles in a multi-million dollar plot to defraud Medicare. Two individuals allegedly collected patient data and sold it to the purported mastermind, who used it to submit $109 million in false claims. […]

Colorado Board of Pharmacy Must Hand Over Patient Identifying Data to DEA

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On April 22, 2020, a federal judge ordered the Colorado Board of Pharmacy to give the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) prescription drug monitoring program data on two pharmacies that the DEA is investigating. The data includes patient identifying information of more than 14,000 patients. The state must turn over […]

Civil and Criminal Enforcement of HIPAA Privacy and Security Regs on the Rise

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law The Office of Civil Rights (OCR), a division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the federal organization responsible for investigating complaints and enforcing the Privacy and Security Regulations implementing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly referred to as […]

Medical Information Bureau (MIB) Reports and How They Affect Your Insurance Rates

By Amanda I. Forbes, J.D. When you apply for insurance, an insurance company will look at various factors regarding your history to determine how much your insurance policy will cost.  Most insurers obtain a report from the Medical Information Bureau (“MIB”) and use this in determining the risk you pose and, hence, your policy premium. The MIB checks past records to identify […]

CVS Fined for Prescription Errors and Poor Staffing at Oklahoma Pharmacies

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On July 16, 2020, the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy fined CVS, the nationwide pharmacy chain, $125,000, after auditors found safety issues and “chaotic” scenes at four of its pharmacies. State regulators in Oklahoma cited and fined the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain for conditions including inadequate […]

Emotional Support Animals and Protecting Your License, Pitfalls and Tips, Part 2 of 3

By Amanda I. Forbes, J.D.; and George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified in Health Law This is part 2 of 3 in a blog series regarding Emotional Support Animals (ESA) support letters being prepared by counselors and therapists. There are serious pitfalls that exist for the unwary mental health professional and, in part 1, we provided […]

AdventHealth Reaches Settlement For COVID-19 PPE Fraud Claims

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On February 23, 2021, a federal court in Orlando, Florida, ruled that Adventist Health System Sunbelt (now known as AdventHealth, and which owns Florida Hospital, among others) could pursue claims it has over a bad $57.5 million deal to buy personal protective equipment […]

Are You Applying for a Medical or Health Professional License? Follow Our Helpful Tips

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law The process of obtaining a medical or health professional license can be challenging and time consuming. When seeking initial licensure or applying for a license in another state, you should be aware of delays in the application process due to the investigation of credentials and past […]

New Florida Law Allows Limited Pharmacist Medical Practice with Practice Agreements

By Michael L. Smith, R.R.T., J.D., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law A new Florida law allows pharmacists to practice medicine to a certain extent under written collaborative practice agreements with physicians who are licensed to practice medicine or osteopathic medicine in Florida.  The new law, signed by Governor DeSantis, took effect on July 1, 2020.  However, the […]

Physicians and Nurses: Follow These 30 Tips for Professional Correspondence

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law I review many letters, e-mails, memoranda, and other types of correspondence prepared by my physician and nurse clients during my legal representation. These come to me often because of a dispute with a hospital, their peers, an insurance company, law suit filed by a patient, a […]

Three Charged For Roles in $109 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme and HIPAA Violations

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law In October 2020, Massachusetts federal prosecutors charged three individuals for their alleged roles in a multi-million dollar plot to defraud Medicare. Two individuals allegedly collected patient health data and sold it to the purported mastermind, who then used it to submit $109 million in […]

DOJ Charges 345 People Allegedly Involved in More Than $6 Billion in Fraud Related to Telemedicine, Opioid Prescriptions

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law In September 2020, federal prosecutors charged 345 doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals allegedly involved in more than $6 billion in healthcare fraud. It is considered the largest Health Care Fraud and Opioid Enforcement Action in the Department of Justice’s history (DOJ). The […]

Eight Legal Tips If You Are Having Academic, Disciplinary or Legal Problems with Your Residency Program

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law In October 2020, Massachusetts federal prosecutors charged three individuals for their alleged roles in a multi-million dollar plot to defraud Medicare. Two individuals allegedly collected patient health data and sold it to the purported mastermind, who then used it to submit $109 million in […]

Woman Posing as Nurse Sentenced to Prison For Health Care and Wire Fraud, Identity Theft

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On September 23, 2020, a Tennessee woman who posed as a nurse working at several medical facilities was sentenced to more than four years in prison.  In December 2019, she pled guilty to wire fraud, healthcare fraud, identity theft, and practicing nursing without […]

Going For an Evaluation With Your State Providers Health Program, Peer Assistance Program, Intervention Project for Nurses, or Professionals Resource Network? Tips on What NOT To Do!

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law So you are a physician, nurse or other health professional who has been accused of drug diversion, alcohol use at work, being impaired because of use of drugs or alcohol, or being positive on a drug test.  You have been reported to the state […]

Multiple Settlements with HHS for HIPAA Security Rule Violations & Data Breaches

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law In September 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced three settlements to resolve alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules. The settlements, totaling $10.6 million, stem from data breaches in which hackers were able to access […]

Colorado Judge Says Board of Pharmacy Must Hand Over Patient Identifying Data to DEA

By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law On April 22, 2020, a federal judge ordered the Colorado Board of Pharmacy to give the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) prescription drug monitoring program data on two pharmacies that the DEA is investigating. The data includes patient identifying information of more than 14,000 patients. The state must turn over […]

Certifying Emotional Support Animals and Protecting Your License, Part 1 of 3

By Amanda I. Forbes, J.D., and George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified in Health Law In today’s stress-filed world if you are a mental health counselor or other professional counselor, it is likely that you will encounter a client seeking to obtain an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) designation letter from you. Providing such a letter may cause […]