Texas Health Care Law Blog

New regulations spark discussion over medical data privacy

Americans could soon access their medical history just as fast as they order takeout. But new rules regarding electronic medical data have sparked debate over whether easier access would hurt or help consumers.

The current fight comes from new information-sharing policies from the federal government, which would allow health care providers to send medical information to third-party apps once a patient gives their consent.

Stop nursing home neglect before it starts at your facility

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, more than 1.3 million Americans occupy more than 15,000 nursing homes throughout the nation. As the baby boomer generation ages, these numbers will skyrocket. Their families will want them to receive the best care, and—unlike previous generations—their families will be much more fluent in researching what is and is not acceptable.

As a health care provider, we know that you want what’s best for those in your care as well. However, with a busy staff and patients who often struggle with conditions that affect memory and bodily functions, things can get challenging.

What is the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute?

When you run a medical practice, you are subject to a lot of government oversight, especially when handling federal health care patients. One law that physicians and medical practices must abide by is the Stark Law, a federal statute first passed in 1989 and revised three times since then. Each revision has added more provisions and exceptions to the law, making it sometimes difficult to comply with.

 

DNA testing challenges doctors, laboratories and courts

Medical laboratories, doctors and other healthcare professionals have begun struggling with gnarly ethical questions brought on by DNA testing. With the technology now widely available and its meanings fast evolving, medical professionals may see the legal risks only when a lawsuit is filed.

Experts in law, public policy, medicine and genetics are scrambling to think about these questions before they’re raised in court, not to mention the clinical setting.

No Corporate Practice of Medicine in Texas

The prohibition against the corporate practice of medicine doctrine isn't necessarily a law or passage in the Texas Constitution, but rather a legal doctrine. That is, it's a principle expressed as a set of rules or procedures that developed over multiple rulings.

This doctrine prohibits corporations from making or influencing medical decisions, and therefore from practicing medicine in any sense in Texas.

How to prepare for a ZPIC audit

Today, healthcare providers face more regulations than ever. One particular form of regulation that has become more common in the past decade are Zone Program Integrity Contractor (ZPIC) audits.

These audits were designed to enforce Medicare regulations and deter improper billing practices. They can lead to allegations of fraud which may bring a healthcare organization civil or criminal charges.

Managing difficult patients without risking your license

Whether due to a hostile attitude, refusal to follow medical advice, anger over a diagnosis or more, many doctors, nurses and other health care professionals have encountered difficult patients at some point. Dealing with these individuals can be complicated, especially when you fear that an unfounded or unreasonable complaint could jeopardize your medical license.

Managing difficult patients requires patience and a constant commitment to acting in the best interests of the patient. Because fighting to protect your license can take considerable time and resources from your Texas practice, attempt to gain control of the situation before it escalates. Here are a few tips to ease the tension:

The lengthy reinstatement process for nurse licensing

Licensed nurses rely on their accreditation for their living. If your license is revoked, Texas has a lengthy reinstatement process for you to undergo before you can work as a nurse again.

The reinstatement process includes these steps before you’re able to work as a nurse again:

What if you suspect fraudulent activity at your own practice?

Physicians rely on the trust of multiple people, including patients, employees and members of the public. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous doctors abuse this trust to commit acts of fraud. However, there is sometimes a gray area where a trustworthy physician inadvertently commits unlawful activity.

If you suspect that you or another staff member accidentally violated the law, it may be in your best interest to voluntarily self-disclose this to the Office of Inspector General. The OIG has a set of protocol to follow that physicians can follow to potentially avoid or mitigate civil or administrative penalties.

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