Avoiding Potential Legal Issues in Your Medical Practice

All health care professionals including advanced practice clinicians (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) want to prevent any potential legal actions related to the excellent care they provide.

Let me first start off by saying, I am not an attorney and I don’t play one in real life, on TV or on the internet. I had never even been in a real courtroom until recently. However, back in 2006 became involved in an investigation of another health care professional that has only recently gone to trial, and have spent a good amount of time researching the topic for past and future presentations. Thus, I’d like to share just a few tips that you can take to protect yourself as you continue to provide excellent care to your patients.

Documentation:

First and foremost, pay attention to your documentation! Make sure it tells the story, discusses your findings, your assessment and your plan. Whoever is reading the note, should be able to understand how you got to your proposed plan AND be able to pick up where you left off, making any necessary adjustments.

Don’t assume that someone can read your mind and don’t assume you will remember 1, 6 or 52 weeks later. While not everyone is able to complete each and every chart in the room before the patient leaves, make serious attempts at getting your charting done as soon as it’s feasible. Memory fades over time. Need a refresher on documentation? Here is a primer on documentation published by CMS-(The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services) Search their site for “Documentation Guidelines for Evaluation and Management (E/M) Services”

Coding and Billing:

You may not be doing the billing in your office, but chances are you are responsible for coding the level of the visit. It’s your responsibility to be aware of the requirements for level of care regardless if your CPT code reflects the work and acuity of the patient, or the time spent. Make sure you have documented accordingly. If you need to brush up on your E&M coding skills, you can get some great free education at http://www.emuniversity.com. Coding the wrong level of service, or even “incident to” inappropriately, can land you in hot water.

Medication Errors:

Believe it or not, medication errors continue to be quite common. In fact, according to the 2009 NP claims study*, more than 80% of medication errors are prescription-related and 1/3 of those involved prescribing the WRONG medication.

Make sure you check and double check your prescriptions for spelling, dose, indication, side effects and contraindications. If you are using any of the electronic prescribing tools available, it should help, but they are not foolproof. Take advantage of the various tools you can use in the room with you including those on your PDA or smartphone. Epocrates, my favorite is only one of the various tools available.

Protect Yourself:

If you have legal concerns, it’s always best to check with an attorney who is familiar with health care, advanced practice issues, and is in your state. Make sure you have appropriate liability coverage. All healthcare providers today have a tremendous responsibility to do the best they can do, often under less than ideal situations. Despite this, we continue to do our best to provide the best level of care we can for our patients and clients. These suggestions can help protect you (and your patients) even years into the future.

*2209 NP Claims Study can be found at http://www.nso.com Once there, search for the following search terms to see the report: “2009 NP claims study”

12 eCommerce Legal Issues to Consider in Operating an Online Business

The following article provides a high-level summary of some key eCommerce law issues online business operators face in running a website or other eCommerce business. Conducting business online or maintaining a website may subject companies and individuals to unforeseen legal liabilities. The following is a brief survey of 12 key eCommerce law issues to consider:

1. Internet Business & eCommerce

A good starting point is analyzing a company’s online presence and auditing their procedures to determine how to grow their brand and online influence. As part of this, the company’s agreements and websites should comply with the myriad of laws and regulations affecting websites and online businesses, such as COPPA.

2. Domain Name Acquisition

Domains are often the key to an online business, but can present a number of problems. Domain name issues include securing a domain name initially, as well as protecting domain names from adverse parties that attempt to trade off the goodwill associated with the company’s brand. Sometimes, the company needs defense, retrieval, and protection of domain names on the Internet.

3. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) Compliance

Companies operating websites, particularly where third-party content may be uploaded directly, should consider adopting agreements and procedures to shield themselves against claims of liability and copyright infringement. This procedure is sometimes referred to as a “copyright policy” or “DMCA takedown” procedure. Compliance with the DMCA can provide the online operator with a safe harbor from liability.

4. Online Privacy

Online privacy continues to become a bigger issue. With the spread of mobile devices, tablets, and apps, privacy issues are becoming more complex. Companies should consider composing or updating their privacy policies as well as adopting internal security protocols aimed at protecting the online privacy of customers and website users.

5. Social Media Law

While a powerful vehicle to build brand strength and interact with customers, social media can create a number of legal issues for online businesses. A social media policy provided to employees as well as guidelines can be effective steps to reduce risk. A few key areas to consider are employment related use of social media, confidentiality, sponsorship, and branding guidelines.

6. Privacy Policies

Privacy policies should not be copied from online templates or rival companies. They should be drafted comprehensively to address unique issues of a specific online business and to accommodate future growth. Whether a company looks to collect analytics or more personalized information, the company should focus on its specific business needs and risk factors. Privacy policies should be updated as a business evolves.

7. Terms of Use Agreements

Terms of Use (TOU) agreements can limit liability for companies that maintain an Internet presence. These agreements should be optimized to address a company’s specific business and should not be simply cut and pasted from the Internet. What works for one company may not work for another company.

8. eCommerce Agreements

eCommerce agreements come in many forms such as licensing, advertising agreements, and payment processor agreements. eCommerce agreements should be drafted to address the primary legal risks involved in a particular eCommerce contract or business transaction.

9. Online Sweepstakes & Games

Online sweepstakes, contests, and games create a number of legal pitfalls. Depending on the sweepstake, contest, or game, compliance with the laws of all 50 states as well as the federal government may be required. Registration in specific states may also be required. Online businesses may benefit from guidance as to whether a particular new initiative is considered a sweepstake, contest, or game.

10. Domain Theft

Recovering hijacked domains can often be difficult and time-consuming. Typically, avoiding domain theft in the first place is much easier than attempting to recover a stolen domain. While difficult, it is possible to recover a hijacked domain.

11. Website Agreements

Website agreements can be customized to limit legal liability and reduce risks of disputes by analyzing an online business’s intellectual property portfolio, business processes, and brand objectives. Website agreements can be used for mobile applications in addition to websites.

12. Impersonation and Username Squatting

Impersonation and username squatting can occur when a third party registers a social media account using someone else’s identity. This can result in harmful posts and information being published in social media. Username squatting can also prevent a trademark or brand owner from controlling their trademark. Typically, registering usernames in advance is the best strategy to avoid impersonation or username squatting.

While the above identifies a number of eCommerce and internet law issues affecting website and online business operators, an in-depth analysis may be required. For more information, you may want to contact an eCommerce attorney.

Disclaimer – As with any discussion of legal topics, this article is intended to be educational only, and is not a substitute for legal advice, nor does it provide legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship with the reader. Please seek legal counsel before making any decisions. Also, please note that this article will likely not be updated, so the law and circumstances may have changed by the time you have read this article.

How The Solicitor Can Support You In Legal Issues

A solicitor deals with legal issues together with a court proceeding. It is his duty to offer proper legal advice and support to the clients. The solicitors play a vital role by giving counsel on various issues. They charge reasonable rates for their valuable and unbiased services. The solicitors get a special law education. In order to get experience, they join the law firms. Here are some of the key jobs of a solicitor:

Advice On Legal Issues

The clients can get legal advice regarding their cases. If the clients require documentation, agreement modification or legal letters; they can consult the solicitors. If you have a disagreement or argument with the opposite party, you can avail the legal advice. If you want to defend or take a case, the solicitor gives you the best advice.

Representative In the Court

Whether it is High court or Supreme Court, the solicitor represents his client. He considers the case and sends documents to the barrister, if his presence is obligatory in the case.

Support in Private Work

If you have made up your mind to purchase or sell your valuable property, you have to get legal assistance. Moreover, the family issues, divorce, criminal proceedings, agreement between tenant and landlord and wills need the legal approval. If you have suffered due to an accident, the solicitor can file your case. When you have filed a case, it is the job of a solicitor to represent you in court matters. He sends letters on your behalf to the opposite party.

Assistance in Commercial Issues

The commercial issues like the business transaction, business disputes, mergers, or establishment of a company requires the legal assistance. The solicitor can support the clients in profit-making transactions.

Individual Privileges

In case, an individual is badly treated by private or public sector, he can raise his voice for his rights by hiring a solicitor. He can gather related information and documentation work for the case. He makes contact with the witnesses to make your case strong.

Welfare Work

It is common that solicitors work free for the welfare of needy people. It shows that the people who cannot pay the legal charges can get legal aid.

Distinctive Work Activities

It is obligatory to complete the education and get experience in the required field. The well qualified and proficient solicitor can perform legal tasks in an organization, court, local government or in a commercial association. The solicitors are free to select the work activities according to their interest. Mostly, the solicitors selects a job depending on their specialization. Some solicitors prefer to deal with family cases. Others are specialized for criminal cases.

If you have any legal issue, it is indispensable to hire the services of the best solicitor in your area. A dedicated and practiced solicitor can offer you necessary support and advice. Moreover, he takes affordable charges from his clients.