Physician Contracts & Compliance Reviews

At Nicholson & Eastin, LLP, we understand the critical importance of compliance when physicians and healthcare professionals enter into agreements with medical practices, hospitals, or other providers. It is essential to ensure that these agreements align with governing laws and regulations to avoid potential legal pitfalls. Physicians need to be vigilant in adhering to laws such as the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS), the Physician Self-Referral Law (Stark Law), the Civil Monetary Penalties Law (CMPL), and related state statutes, including the Florida Patient Brokering Act. The enforcement of these laws falls under the jurisdiction of government agencies, such as the Department of Justice, the Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Possible Penalties

Non-compliance with the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and other relevant healthcare laws can have far-reaching and severe consequences for physicians, impacting both their professional careers and personal reputations. The potential penalties for violations are multifaceted and can vary depending on the severity and nature of the offense. Physicians found in violation of these laws may face a combination of criminal penalties, civil fines, exclusion from participation in Federal health care programs, and even the possibility of losing their medical licensure.

In the event of a conviction for a single violation under the Anti-Kickback Statute, physicians could be subject to substantial fines of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for up to five (5) years. Beyond the financial and criminal penalties, physicians may also face mandatory exclusion from participating in Federal health care programs, including critical programs like Medicare and Medicaid. This exclusion can severely hinder their ability to provide care to patients who rely on these programs, resulting in a significant impact on their practice and livelihood.

Moreover, the ramifications of non-compliance extend beyond the legal realm. Physicians found guilty of violating healthcare laws may suffer damage to their professional reputation and credibility, potentially leading to a loss of patient trust and respect within the medical community. The adverse effects of such violations can follow physicians throughout their careers, making it challenging to rebuild their standing and regain patient confidence.

To safeguard against these potentially catastrophic consequences, physicians must take proactive measures to ensure that any proposed agreement or arrangement adheres to the strict guidelines set forth by the Anti-Kickback Statute and other applicable laws. Engaging experienced healthcare attorneys to conduct comprehensive compliance reviews is a prudent step in this process. By seeking legal guidance before finalizing any agreements, physicians can identify and address potential compliance issues, mitigating risks and protecting their professional futures.

Protecting Your Future

In addition to ensuring compliance with governing laws, physicians must be vigilant about protecting their future when entering into contractual agreements with medical practices, hospitals, or other healthcare providers. Often, employment agreements contain restrictive covenants and non-compete clauses that can significantly impact a physician’s career trajectory and professional autonomy.

Restrictive covenants are contractual provisions designed to safeguard the interests of employers by imposing limitations on employees, including physicians, after the termination of the employment relationship. One common type of restrictive covenant is the non-compete clause, which restricts a physician from practicing medicine within a certain geographical area for a specified period after leaving their current practice. This limitation can significantly curtail a physician’s ability to explore new job opportunities, especially if they are restricted from practicing in the same locality where they have established patient relationships.

Moreover, non-compete clauses can pose challenges for physicians who wish to relocate to areas with more favorable practice conditions or opportunities for professional growth. Being bound by a non-compete agreement might hinder their ability to fully utilize their skills in a new location, restricting their career options and potentially affecting their earning potential.

Beyond geographical limitations, physicians must also be mindful of non-solicitation provisions within employment agreements. These clauses restrict physicians from actively soliciting or attempting to take patients with them if they decide to leave their current practice. Broadly worded non-solicitation clauses can unduly impede a physician’s ability to reach out to former patients or even engage in general marketing efforts for their professional services. This can have a negative impact on their ability to rebuild their patient base if they decide to start their own practice or join a new medical group.

To protect their future prospects and career trajectory, physicians need to have a comprehensive understanding of the terms and potential implications of any agreement they enter into. It is essential to carefully review and negotiate restrictive covenants and non-compete clauses to ensure that they are reasonable and tailored to the specific circumstances of the physician and the practice.

Experienced Legal Guidance

Seeking the advice of experienced legal counsel is paramount for physicians navigating complex contractual agreements. At Nicholson & Eastin, LLP, we specialize in reviewing and negotiating physician and related agreements to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Our team of dedicated healthcare attorneys has extensive experience in healthcare law, enabling us to provide the best possible guidance for our clients.

We carefully analyze the terms of your contracts, assess the financial arrangements, and identify any potential issues or areas of concern. Our goal is to protect your practice, reputation, and career by proactively addressing any compliance matters.

Our proactive approach means that we identify and address any compliance issues or potential concerns before they escalate into more significant problems. By taking preventative measures, we aim to safeguard your practice, uphold your reputation, and protect your career from potential legal pitfalls.

With our in-depth understanding of healthcare laws and regulations, we can provide you with informed insights and experienced guidance, allowing you to make well-informed decisions regarding your agreements. Our commitment to compliance ensures that you can confidently navigate the complex healthcare landscape while maintaining your focus on providing exceptional care to your patients.

Contact Nicholson & Eastin Health Care Lawyers

Healthcare laws are constantly evolving, making it essential to work with attorneys who stay up-to-date with the latest changes and regulations. At Nicholson & Eastin, LLP, we pride ourselves on providing cutting-edge legal advice tailored to the healthcare industry.

Protecting your practice and professional interests is our priority. If you are a physician or healthcare professional in need of legal guidance regarding existing or proposed contractual arrangements, do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Our experienced team is here to support you in ensuring compliance with applicable laws, maximizing your earning potential, and safeguarding your future success. Contact us and let us navigate the complex world of healthcare law on your behalf, so you can focus on providing exceptional care to your patients.

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