Medical Director's Failure to Perform Duties Makes Florida Health Care Clinic Liable; All Insurance Charges Voided

Tuesday, August 16, 2016
By Michael L. Smith, J.D., R.R.T., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law    

A recent  U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision, upheld a federal district courts decision which found a Florida Health Care Clinic liable for fraud and other torts. Because of violations of Florida's Health Care Clinics Leave Act, section 400.990, Florida Statutes, it also declared all claims submitted to the insurer for payments were voided.
Health Care Clinics are liable for their Medical Directors's failure to fulfil their statutory duties. Allstate Ins. Co. Et al. v. Vizcay. M.D., No.14-13947 ( U.S 11th Cir. June 23,2016). The plaintiff insurance companies filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida  alleging multiple claims against several licensed Health Care Clinics, and their medical director, Dr. Vizcay. The jury found the clinics liable to the insurance companies for systemically review the clinics' billings. ID. The trial court also granted the insurance companies declaratory relief removing any obligation the insurance companies had to pay outstanding claims for the time when the clinics were operation in violation of the Health Care Clinic Act. Id.

The clinics argued on appeal that the clinics could not be held liable when a medical director failed to fulfil the medial director's statutory duties. The Court disagreed because under the Health Care Clinic Act, the medical director accepted legal responsibility for the medical director's duties on behalf of the clinic. The Health Care Clinic Act requires medical directors to accept legal responsibility for specific duties enumerated in the Act on behalf of the licensed clinic. Section 400.99335(1), Fla. Stat. (2016).

Attorneys with licensed Health Care Clinic clients may want to remind their clients that the medical directors' duties enumerated in the Health Care Clinic Act are not merely elements to include in the written contract. The medical director is required to fulfil those duties.

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About The Author: Michael L. Smith, R.R.T., J.D., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area.  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

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