The Florida Healthcare Law Firm Announces National Expansion

(Delray Beach, FL) June 21st, 2012 – The Florida Healthcare Law Firm, one of Florida’s leading healthcare law firms, today announced a major increase in their legal practice capabilities with the official launch of the National Healthcare Law Firm, a d/b/a and new portal of the firm. The expansion to a national platform providing healthcare legal services to physicians and healthcare businesses is one that significantly increases resources for clients who lack qualified local healthcare counsel. While the Florida Healthcare Law Firm has for years assisted clients outside the state of Florida*, this new development further cements the firm’s commitment to providing ethical legal counsel in the healthcare industry.

“We are very excited about it. The fact that we serve clients all over the country has been a small secret for a while but we realized there’s a huge demand and decided to just go for it,” said Jeffrey L. Cohen, Esq. Founder and President of Florida Healthcare Law Firm.

According to Cohen, “It’s just a strange area of the law.  Nearly everything in healthcare business is regulated; leases, employment agreements, compensation.  Things you wouldn’t think are regulated are strongly regulated.  And there are large fines and criminal penalties for getting it wrong!  Our clients understand that healthcare business of any kind has serious legal risks and that they need uniquely qualified help.”

To request a service list or for any other firm information, call Autumn Piccolo at 888-455-7702 or visit the firm’s website at www.nationalhealthcarelawfirm.com or www.floridahealthcarelawfirm.com

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Acknowledged throughout the country for its service and excellence, Florida Healthcare Law Firm is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare legal services. Founded by Jeffrey L. Cohen, Esq and headquartered in South Florida, FHLF provides legal services to physicians and healthcare businesses with the right pricing responsiveness and ethics. From healthcare clinic regulation, home health agency representation and physician contracting to medical practice formation/representation and federal and state compliance matters, the Florida Healthcare Law Firm is committed to bringing knowledge and experience to a diverse group of clients.

#FHLF October 2011 Newsletter

Click Here to view our October 2011 Newsletter:
http://conta.cc/qFxblP

Pain Management Regulations Affect More Than Pain Management Specialists

The recently passed House Bill 7095 affects more than just pain management specialists.  Practitioners who prescribe controlled substances for individuals with “chronic nonmalignant pain” also are required to comply with new state regulations, including designation “as a controlled substance prescribing practitioner on the physician’s practitioner profile”“with the state Board of Medicine by January 1, 2012. What follows is a bulleted summary of the new regulations.

Prescription s for controlled substances must be either written or electronic.  Telephone prescriptions no longer are allowed.

Written Prescriptions for Controlled Substances

  • Must have quantity in textual and numerical format
  • Must be dated with the abbreviated month written out
  • Must be written on a standardized counterfeit-proof prescription pad produced by a DOH approved vendor

Physicians who prescribe any controlled substance for the treatment of “chronic nonmalignant pain” must designate him or herself as a controlled substance prescribing physician on the physician’s practitioner profile and must comply with statutory requirements and applicable board rules

  • “Chronic  nonmalignant pain “ is defined as pain unrelated to cancer or rheumatoid arthritis which persists beyond the usual course of disease or the injury that is the cause of the pain or more than 90 days after surgery .

A complete medical history and physical exam must be documented in the medical record

The exact nature of the examination is not dictated, but it must be proportionate to the diagnosis that justifies treatment and must minimally document:

  • The pain’s nature and intensity
  • Current and past treatment for pain
  • Underlying or coexisting diseases or conditions
  • The effect of the pain on physical and psychological functions
  • A review of previous medical records and previous diagnostic studies
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
    • Notably, patients with such a history require referral to, or consultation with, a phsyiatrist or addictionologist
  • The presence of one or more recognized indications for the use of a controlled substance

CMS Issues Final Rule on E-Prescribing

By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: September 06, 2011 WASHINGTON — Doctors now have an extra month to apply for a hardship waiver to avoid being penalized for not adopting electronic prescribing in their practices, according to a final rule issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Physicians who use a qualified e-prescribing system are eligible for an additional 1% in Medicare Part B payments in 2011 and 2012, and a 0.5% increase in 2013. Providers who fail to complete at least 10 paperless prescriptions using a qualified e-prescribing system between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2011, will receive a 1% cut in Medicare reimbursements in 2012, a 1.5% cut in 2013, and a 2% cut in 2014.

In a proposed rule from May, CMS said doctors who are unable to e-prescribe should apply for a “hardship exemption” before Oct. 1. In the final rule issued Sept. 1, CMS announced doctors now have until Nov. 1 to apply for an exemption.

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Florida Lifts Prescription Drug State of Emergency

via Florida Tribune 8-29-11

Just days before a new drug database is set to start operation, the state of Florida announced that it was lifting the statewide public health emergency it declared due to Florida’s prescription drug crisis.

State officials first declared the emergency back in early July and then swept through clinics across the state for inspections that yielded in the seizure of hundreds of thousands of prescription drugs.

“While the statewide public health declaration may no longer be in effect, the efforts of the Florida Department of Health, law enforcement partners and other state agencies remain strong,” said Gov. Rick Scott in a statement.

Scott had set up a task force to go after pain clinics back in March. Scott initially was opposed to keeping intact the proposed drug database – which is meant to track prescriptions issued by doctors for drugs such as OxyContin, Valium and Xanax.

But Scott, lawmakers and Attorney General Pam Bondi reached a compromise that kept the database which is scheduled to become operational this Thursday. A bill passed this past session also requires physicians to submit their prescription information within seven days.

Dr. Frank Farmer, the Department of Health secretary, also announced along with lifting the state of emergency he was also lifting a moratorium on a part of HB 7095 that had been put on hold.

Two months ago Farmer put on hold a requirement that as many as 50,000 Florida-licensed physicians use counterfeit-resistant prescription pads. The move was taken in the wake of phone calls from patients and doctors saying that pharmacies around the state had begun to refuse to fill prescriptions for controlled substances because the prescriptions were not written on the approved pads.

“Allowing the practitioners who are approved to prescribe controlled substances more time to order the prescription pads was necessary to ensure public safety over the long term,” Farmer said. “Now is the time to start using them.”

Avoiding the 2012 eRx Payment Adjustment

Via http://www.pbcms.org

An eligible professional can avoid the 2012 eRx Payment Adjustment if he or she: Is not a physician (MD, DO, or podiatrist), Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant as of June 30, 2011, based on primary taxonomy code in the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES); Does not have prescribing privileges and reports G-code G8644 (defined as not having prescribing privileges) at least one time on an eligible claim prior to June 30, 2011; Does not have at least 100 cases containing an encounter code in the measure’s denominator; Becomes a successful electronic prescriber (submits required number of electronic prescriptions (10 for individual) via claims and reports this to CMS before June 30, 2011); or Claims a hardship as described below. A group practice that is participating in eRx GPRO I or GPRO II during 2011: MUST become a successful electronic prescriber (submit required number of electronic prescriptions via claims before June 30, 2011); (Depending on the group’s size, the group practice must report the eRx measure for 75-2,500 unique eRx events via claims for patients in the denominator of the measure). If an eligible professional or selected group practice wishes to request an exemption to the eRx Incentive Program and the payment adjustment, there are two “hardship codes” that can be reported via claims if one of the following situations apply: G8642 – The eligible professional practices in a rural area without sufficient high speed internet access and requests a hardship exemption from the application of the payment adjustment under section 1848(a)(5)(A) of the Social Security Act. G8643 – The eligible professional practices in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for electronic prescribing and requests a hardship exemption from the application of the payment adjustment under section 1848(a)(5)(A) of the Social Security Act.

For additional information, please visit the “How to Get Started” and “Payment Adjustment Information” sections at http://www.cms.gov/erxincentive on the CMS website.

New Prescription Pad Laws Effective July 1, 2011

Effective July 1, 2011, physicians and pharmacies (should) have been notified by the State of Florida of a new law requiring the use of counterfeit-proof script pads for controlled substances. Orders on a generic prescription pad will not be honored by the retail pharmacies. For additional information about counterfeit-proof pads and vendors follow the links below: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/counterfeit-proof.html