Healthcare FAQs

Healthcare Frequently Asked Legal Questions

We have compiled a list of common healthcare legal questions from medical professionals. If you have additional questions or need legal representation for your practice, call us at 800-970-7071 today!

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There are varying limitations of liability, and there is also a potential for unlimited liability for Physicians.

First you have to understand the difference between economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are compensatory damages, meaning the damages that a plaintiff has suffered as a result of the conduct of another; it typically includes medical bills present and future, loss of wages present and future, special accommodations, and all other reasonably related quantifiable damages that relate to the conduct. Similarly, Non-Economic damages are indirect, subjective damages; they typically include family related damages such as loss of consortium. These types of damages are further defined in Florida Statute 766.202 defines “Noneconomic damages” means nonfinancial losses that would not have occurred but for the injury giving rise to the cause of action, including pain and suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life, and other nonfinancial losses to the extent the claimant is entitled to recover such damages under general law, including the Wrongful Death Act.

None the less the Florida Legislature has attempted to limit the non-economic damages as follows, while economic damages have no limits:

  • In emergency room cases, State of Florida limits a victim’s recovery for non-economic damages to $150,000 from each physician and hospital involved in the medical malpractice case.
  • In non-emergencies, State of Florida limits the victim’s recovery of non-economic damages to $500,000 from each physician, with an aggregate cap of $1 million for all claimants.
  • For non-emergencies the State limits a victim’s recovery for non-economic damages to $750,000 from each hospital, HMO, hospice and other non-physician provider, with a $1.5 million aggregate cap for all claimants.
  • These caps may be raised in non-emergency situations if a judge determines it would be unjust not to exceed the cap.

At The Mirza Law Group, LLP we represent Physicians and Physicians’ Groups, we help and strive to get our clients to that optimum position. Call or email us at the number on this page and put our team to work for you.

Before you sign an employment contract, you should review closely these three clauses:

  1. Non-Compete Clause – the non-provision is based on a combination of three factors, physical geography, practice type or practice area, and/or particular type of client. These provisions must not be too broad or too narrow and specific. If it is too broad the contract can be easily challenged for encompassing more than it should. If it is too narrow, the contract can be ineffective and does not offer sufficient protection.
  2. Insurance Clause – the insurance provisions in your employment contract do not specifically state whether the policy that is provided is a “claims made” or an “occurrence made” insurance policy. The “claims made” policy offers the least protection, and “occurrence made” offers more. To bridge the gap between one insurance company to another or one employer’s policy to another, “tail coverage” should be purchased from the latter carrier. The quality of financial strength should be A+ or better.
  3. Termination Clause – Florida is an “at will” employment state, an employee can be terminated literally “at will.” However as a contractor, meaning a non-employee, the contractor can potentially negotiate more advantageous terms, but similarly be exposed to additional risks. The termination provision in employment agreements should be negotiated prior to employment i.e. severance pay. The confidentiality clauses, and the restrictions upon transferring of clients to a new job or employer, and non-compete clauses will automatically be triggered.

There are many other important clauses such as release and waiver, defend and indemnify, the scope of the contract not discussed herein. Those clauses require a keen understanding of the law and your practice. At The Mirza Law Group, LLP we represent Physicians and Physicians’ Groups, we help and strive to get our clients to that optimum position. Call or email us at the number on this page and put our team to work for you.

Before you decide to buy or sell your medical, dental, chiropractic or any other practice, you must assess what the contemplated transaction entails:

What you are buying or selling and for how much: First figure out the Asset you are buying or selling a revenue stream, contacts or clients, know-how or intelligence, a recognized brand name, accounts receivables, short term versus long term contracts, depreciable furniture and equipment, and or real estate. Conversely, one should evaluate the Liability or debt, accounts payables, and risk associated with purchasing or selling that asset. Additionally there is something completely intangible called “Goodwill”, stated in a simplistic manner it is the intangible factor of how “good” the business “will” run after the sale of business given the reputation, unique processes, uniqueness of the services, non-legally binding relationships, etc. Only through careful consideration and valuation, of each of these factors can one assess the essential value of the asset.

Purchase of Assets versus Corporations: Asset – If one purchases an asset, then they are only purchasing the value of that asset minus any debt that comes with it. For example, if you decide to buy an X-ray machine valued at $5,000 and with it comes $3,000 of debt, then the net price for it should be $2,000. Determining the debt related to a specific asset is usually done through questionnaires, and searching mortgages and UCC statements. Corporation - If one purchases a corporation, then the transaction needs much more due diligence and close attention has to be paid to disclosed versus undisclosed asset, such as good will, or liability such as a potential lawsuit due to past conduct. All facets of the corporation have to be evaluated, from leases, contracts, employees, revenue generating clients and contracts.

How to ensure a fair value for your business: Earn-out Provisions – Many times, if the Seller is willing to stick around after the sale and ensure that the Buyer is getting what the Seller said would be the business, one can use what’s called the earn-out provisions. The earn-out provisions is a pre-negotiated part and portion of a sale price that is contingent upon the outcome of certain results after and once the new owner takes over. Hence a buyer could promise to pay the seller, supposing $50,000 to be paid at time of sale, and $50,000 to be paid 1 year after the sale, provided that year over year the financial results are the same; the same scenario could also be done with a variable formula.

When you need the assistance in buying or selling your business, you will want the knowledge and experience of buying and selling businesses on your side, the ability to limit liabilities, the ability to secure your business without someone trying to take it. At The Mirza Law Group, LLP we represent Physicians and Physicians’ Groups, we help and strive to get our clients to that optimum position. Call us at the number on this page to discuss your purchase or sale of the medical business, and put our team to work for you.

Before you renew your professional liability insurance you really need to review your professional liability policy. You can start with the following three things:

  1. Persons Covered – Find out whom does it cover?
  2. Types of Insurance Policies – There are two types of liability insurance policies, a “claims made” or an “occurrence made” insurance policy. The “claims made” policy covers the adverse event or occurrence if it occurs during the policy period and the claim is made during the policy period. The “occurrence made” policy covers the adverse event regardless of when the claim is made. To bridge the gap between one insurance company to another or one employer’s policy to another, “tail coverage” should be purchased from the latter carrier. The quality of financial strength should be A+ or better.
  3. Exclusions – Insurance is presumed to cover an event or occurrence, that is generally sudden and unexpected. Exclusions are usually special provisions of the insurance policy that insurance will not cover. Ask for your exclusions to the policy to be reviewed.

There are many other important insurance clauses such as defend and indemnify. Those clauses require a keen understanding of the law and your practice. At The Mirza Law Group, LLP we represent Physicians and Physicians’ Groups, we help and strive to get our clients to that optimum position. Call or email us at the number on this page and put our team to work for you.

Before you sign or renew your office lease agreement:

  1. Typical Standard Contract – When you hear people say “that’s the standard contract”, that should mean nothing to you. There is no such thing. All contracts are different, and all contain language that is unique to each vendor. If you are entering a lease, large or small, you should closely review your lease. Even a small $1,000/month lease can add up to be a $36,000 contract over just three years.
  2. Term Period – Find out what time period is the lease for, and how many renewals it has, with renewal and/or termination notice requirements. Most leases are for several years at a time. Many do not contain renewal clauses. Do you know what your rights and obligations are at the end of the lease? Renew or Vacate?
  3. Repair versus Maintenance – Commercial leases come in many forms. There is a difference in who is responsible for repairing versus who is responsible for maintenance. Many lessee’s are shocked to find out what they are responsible for and what their rights are under the lease.

There are many other important lease provisions such as default, termination, defend and indemnify clauses. Those clauses require a keen understanding of the law and your practice. At The Mirza Law Group, LLP we represent Physicians and Physicians’ Groups, we help and strive to get our clients to that optimum position. Call or email us at the number on this page and put our team to work for you.

The quick and short answer to what is the statute of limitation for medical malpractice is 2 years for most negligence cases as per Florida Statute 95.11. Unless a claim is made about neurological injury related to birth then the suit must be brought within 5 years from birth. In certain circumstances the claim could be brought within 7 years from the date the services were performed. There is also a related topic called the statute of repose, which allows for the filing to be done within 4 years, if there is fraud or concealment of the harmful conduct.

There are many important factors to consider when determining what statute of limitations will apply, i.e. does it start to count from the first day of treatment, or the last day of treatment, or from the date of the actual event; what if there are intervening clinicians, what if the problem is not discovered until 3 years later and the claim is filed in the fourth year. Each scenario requires a careful review and understanding of the sequence of events and the law to make an educated assessment. At The Mirza Law Group, LLP we represent Physicians and Physicians’ Groups, we help and strive to get our clients to that optimum position. Call or email us at the number on this page and put our team to work for you.

If your medical office has been served with a subpoena to produce records, you are under an obligation to respond. This is the time to determine what you are about to provide to a group of outside attorneys. It is often referred to as a third party subpoena, request for production of records. There are really two primary reasons that your medical office should be served with a third party subpoena:

  1. The litigating party(ies) believe that you have something in your office records that will help them prove their case or disprove the other side’s case; or
  2. The litigating party(ies) wish to explore who else is liable for the claim they are making or defending.

It is important to read carefully exactly what is being requested, and to come to a conclusion if and how much exposure you may have in becoming a party to that case. Each scenario requires a careful review and understanding of the sequence of events and the law to make an educated assessment. At The Mirza Law Group, LLP we represent Physicians and Physicians’ Groups, we help and strive to get our clients to that optimum position. Call or email us at the number on this page and put our team to work for you.

In summary, Physicians are required to complete 40 hours of Continuing Medical Education courses approved by the Board in a 24 month biennial renewal period (CMEs are due by January of every even numbered year, i.e. 2018, 2020, 2022, etc.). Two (2) of the CME hours must be in prevention of medical errors. Every third biennial year, Physicians are required to complete 2 credit hours on Domestic Violence. For specific details for Physicians, follow this link.

In summary, Dentists are required to complete 30 hours of Continuing Medical Education courses approved by the Board in a 24 month biennial renewal period (CEs are due by February of every even numbered year, i.e. 2018, 2020, 2022, etc.). Two (2) of the CE hours must be in prevention of medical errors. Every third biennial year, Dentists are required to complete 2 credit hours on Domestic Violence. Must maintain a CPR Certification at all times. If you are newly licensed and renewing your license for the first time you are only required to complete 2 hours of HIV/AIDS. For specific details follow this link.

For Chiropractic Physicians the continuing education requirements are as follows, to be completed on a biennium cycle:

Continuing Education (CE) Requirements

Required Subject Area

Required Number of Hours

Important Information

General Hours

27

All courses are to be completed by live classroom

Medical Error

2

Laws and Rules

2

Risk Management

1

Record Keeping/Documentation and Coding

6

Ethics and Boundaries

2

For Chiropractic Physicians, go to: See Florida Administrative Code - Rule 64B2-13.004. For review of more specific details follow this link.