Physician Communications: Considerations for Using Text Messages and Social Media

doctors textingBy: Jackie Bain

It is becoming easier and easier for physicians to communicate with each other and their patients.  And although open communication is generally thought of as positive, the medical profession should proceed with caution.  Patients and consulting physicians rely heavily on their communications with their treating physicians.  Thus, communications which do not require the thought of focus that a physician would otherwise give to a situation may result in disaster. While there are many potential ways a physician might use text messaging and social media both professionally and personally, we will focus generally on physician interactions with other physicians, and physician interactions with patients.

To start, physicians should be aware that, in 2011, the American Medical Association issued guidelines in its Code of Ethics for physicians who use social media: Continue reading

Federation’s Model Telemedicine Policy is Well Timed

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Many health policy experts are betting on the expanded role of telemedicine as an essential cost-saving, quality (and access) enhancing tool.  Yet legal and policy issues have dogged the development of useful telemedicine guidelines, making it difficult to know what’s ok and what’s not.  What sort of licensure is required for physicians practicing telemedicine?  When is the physician “practicing medicine” vs. “merely consulting?”  When is a physician patient relationship established?  Is one even necessary?  The newly developed model policy developed by the Federation of State Medical Boards should help guide states in developing specific telemedicine standards.

Continue reading

Major Criminal Case in Palm Beach County Directed at Hormone Business

Telemedicine hormoneA trial underway in West Palm Beach will have serious impact on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) businesses around the state.  HRT businesses are exploding around the state and country.  The underbelly of the business exists where business owners do not approach it as a medical service deserving of the same seriousness (clinically and legally) as any other healthcare service.  Four of the doctors involved have already pled guilty to conspiracy charges and were placed on five years probation.  One of the doctors relinquished his license.

The allegations involved in the case shed light on some of the more nefarious aspects of HRT business, which in this instance include— Continue reading

Florida Board of Medicine Set to Tackle Telemedicine Issue

Florida laws that pertain to telemedicine are precious few.  In fact, there is really only one regulation dead on target, and that requires face to face physician contact with a patient in order to write a prescription.  The impact of the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) providers was pretty immediate, but the legal issues related to telemedicine are just not currently addressed in Florida law.  Does providing a telemedicine consult create a physician patient relationship?  What are the requirements related to the medical records arising out of the consult, and who owns the records?  These issues and many more are simply not handled.  And yet, if it is true that telemedicine will be an important tool in the effort to both broaden the availability of care while reducing associated costs, we can be sure that Florida law will evolve on these issues. Continue reading

The Florida Healthcare Law Firm Goes National

Followers & Friends – BIG Announcement coming out today! If you haven’t seen our new NATIONAL platform, check it out here at http://www.nationalhealthcarelawfirm.com and stay tuned for our #healthcare #legal news at 2pm EST !!!

Supreme Court upholds Obama health care law

Via @USAToday

The Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s health care law today in a splintered, complex opinion that gives Obama a major election-year victory.

Basically. the justices said that the individual mandate — the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine — is constitutional as a tax.

Chief Justice John Roberts — a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush — provided the key vote to preserve the landmark health care law, which figures to be a major issue in Obama’s re-election bid against Republican opponent Mitt Romney.

The government had argued that Congress had the authority to pass the individual mandate as part of its power to regulate interstate commerce; the court disagreed with that analysis, but preserved the mandate because the fine amounts to a tax that is within Congress’ constitutional taxing powers.

The announcement will have a major impact on the nation’s health care system, the actions of both federal and state governments, and the course of the November presidential and congressional elections.

A key question for the high court: The law’s individual mandate, the requirement that nearly all Americans buy health insurance, or pay a penalty.

Critics call the requirement an unconstitutional overreach by Congress and the Obama administration; supporters say it is necessary to finance the health care plan, and well within the government’s powers under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

While the individual mandate remained 18 months away from implementation, many other provisions already have gone into effect, such as free wellness exams for seniors and allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies. Some of those provisions are likely to be retained by some insurance companies.

Other impacts will sort themselves out, once the court rules:

— Health care millions of Americans will be affected – coverage for some, premiums for others. Doctors, hospitals, drug makers, insurers, and employers large and small all will feel the impact.

— States — some of which have moved ahead with the health care overhaul while others have held back — now have decisions to make. A deeply divided Congress could decide to re-enter the debate with legislation.

— The presidential race between Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney is sure to feel the repercussions. Obama’s health care law has proven to be slightly more unpopular than popular among Americans.

Full Story Here: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2012/06/Supreme-Court-rules-on-Obama-health-care-plan-718037/1#.T-xqPhd5F9E

June 30th Deadline to e-Prescribe to Avoid Medicare Adjustment Penalty

June 30, 2012 is the deadline for submitting ten (10) Part B Fee for Service (FFS) claims to Medicare to avoid the 2013 Adjustment (penalty) of 1.5% against 2013 reimbursements.

Exception: if a provider submitted 25 e-prescribing events successfully in 2011, they have already met the reporting requirement to avoid the 2013 penalty. Otherwise, this upcoming June 30, 2012 deadline will apply. If you’ve started e-prescribing and are continuing to do so, do not stop at just 10 for this year to avoid the reduced reimbursement for 2013. This should be continually noted on all Medicare claims regardless to avoid any future penalties into the coming years as they will continue to require this as there will be a 2% reduction for year 2014 as well.