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Florida Hospitals File Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors Print E-mail
Written by FHInews   
Wednesday, 18 September 2019 00:00

On the front lines of the opioid crisis, hospitals experience significant financial and operational harm


A group of 27 Florida hospitals have filed a civil lawsuit against the manufacturers, distributors and retailers of opioid-based drugs. Florida hospitals have experienced significant financial and operational harm as they’ve fought and treated the complications of addiction on the frontlines of the nation’s opioid epidemic. The Florida hospitals are among hundreds across the U.S. that have filed similar lawsuits.

The complaint, filed in Circuit Court of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County, Florida, alleges negligence, fraud and civil conspiracy by the defendants, which include Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories and almost 20 other companies and individuals involved in the manufacturing, distribution and sales of prescription opioids.

The filing alleges the unlawful actions are part of a decades-long practice in which the defendants made false assurances about the addiction risks associated with opioid products and used other deceptive marketing tactics to persuade physicians and other health care providers to broaden their prescribing patterns. The result has been widespread addiction, suffering, and loss of life in communities across the country, with hospitals bearing the financial burden of care and treatment for the victims.

In May 2017, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared the opioid crisis a state public health emergency. Months later, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined a public health emergency exists nationwide. But the seeds of the epidemic were sown more than a decade earlier; data compiled by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency shows there were more than 5.5 billion prescription pain pills supplied to Florida from 2006 to 2012. In 2018, there were 5,922 drug-related deaths in Florida; of those, 2,733 were opioid-related.

A recently release study from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that 13 percent of Floridians lacked health insurance in 2018, compared with a national average of 8.5 percent. Both the state and national figures were up from the prior year.

The filing claims many facilities have also been forced to make capital investments in their facilities to accommodate increased security measures and create new treatment areas for overdose patients and those experiencing acute and chronic diseases that result from opioid abuse.

“No party is better positioned, given the appropriate financial resources, to lead us out of this public health crisis than our hospitals,” said William R. Scherer, founder and managing partner of Conrad & Scherer, L.L.P., representing the Florida hospitals. “They have measurable damages and must be active participants in any opioid settlement discussions.”

Last month the American Hospital Association urged a judge hearing one of the opioid cases “to ensure that needed funds are directed to the hospitals and health systems that are on the forefront of caring for the victims of this epidemic. 

With additional resources, hospitals can broaden access to post-overdose treatment in emergency departments, increase training of physicians to treat substance use disorders, cover the costs of lengthy stays and follow-up care for infants with neonatal abstinence disorder, and invest in electronic health information systems to improve coordinated care and prevent overprescribing.”

The case is number #95754861 in Circuit Court of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County.

Hospital List
Coral Gables Hospital
Hialeah Hospital
Larkin Community Hospital 
North Shore Medical Center
Palmetto General Hospital
Delray Medical Center
Good Samaritan Medical Center
Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center
St. Mary's Medical Center
Bayfront Health
Tampa General Hospital
Venice Regional Bayfront Health
Shands Lake Shore Regional Medical Center
Shands Live Oak Regional Medical Center
Shands Starke Regional Medical Center
North Okaloosa Medical Center
Santa Rosa Medical Center
Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center
Lake Wales Medical Center
Central Florida Health
Lower Keys Medical Center
Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center
Broward Health
Physicians Regional Medical Center
Flagler Hospital
Halifax Hospital Medical Center

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ABOUT CONRAD & SCHERER
Conrad & Scherer, LLP was founded in 1974 by Managing Partner William R. Scherer and began as a small, local law firm comprised of trial attorneys.  Today, Conrad & Scherer stands is a preeminent litigation law firm with a national and international reach.  The firm maintains offices in Fort Lauderdale, FL, New York, NY, Brevard, NC, and Quito, Ecuador, providing clients a wide range of legal services. 

Media Contact: 
Don Silver and Jennifer Clarin
Boardroom Communications, Inc.
(954)370-8999/ (954)629-7523
donsil@boardroompr.com/jclarin@boardroompr.com

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 September 2019 10:25
 
Medical Practices & MedSpa Startups: Corporate Considerations Print E-mail
Written by Chase Howard   
Monday, 09 September 2019 17:08

Deciding you want to open your own medspa or start a medical practice is the first and most important step in creating something unique and building a brand. Understanding how to properly “start” that business from a legal perspective, and doing so correctly can be the difference between success and failure.

As a physician in a private, solo-practice, or the business owner of a medspa startup, proper strategy is key. Understanding your corporate structure, developing a business plan, and compliance with the laws will help eliminate pesky obstacles that will slow your growth.

When working with start-ups the following steps should be given plenty of time and attention.
  1. Corporate Structure
  • Choosing the appropriate corporate form will have both tax and liability implications. Decisions have to be made between choosing an LLC, an Inc., or a PA. Once you choose the appropriate type of corporation, obtaining sound tax advice will permit you to limit tax liability and take advantage of certain deductions. For clients opening multiple locations or owning significant equipment, multiple corporations may be beneficial depending on the goal.
  1. Obtaining an EIN/TID
  • Before you can open a business bank account, or even do business in your city, you will need to obtain an Employer Identification Number or Tax ID for your business. Improperly obtaining the EIN/TID can bring about a myriad of issues with the IRS.
  1. Licensing
  • As a physician, you are already know you have to be licensed by the Florida Board of Medicine but as a business owner, state, county, and city governments have additional requirements just to do business.
  • The type of business or practice you are operating will dictate the types of licenses you need.
  • As a stand-alone medical spa, you may need a laser facility license, a massage facility license, resale tax certificates, laser registrations or other specific licenses based on services provided.
  1. Business Planning
  • Starting a successful practice or business begins months before with business planning. Eliminate early headaches by meeting with advisors to develop a business plan, understand day to day operations, prepare for financing options, develop practice culture, assess partnerships, and other tasks.
  • Location selection is overlooked by many start-ups but can be the difference in the success of your business. For practices, insurance panels may be oversaturated in some areas, which could cause reimbursements to be lower. Choosing an area with the type of clientele needed is essential.
  1. Trademarks and Branding
  • Branding is everything. People recognize brands by their logos, name, service, or specialists.
  • Protecting your brand is just as important as building your brand. Utilizing Federal trademark protections is just one method of building and creating your brand, especially if your goal is to expand across the State.
  • Early consideration is necessary as the process of protecting your brand can take months, if not years.
  1. Corporate Compliance
  • Once you’ve built the foundations of your start-up, protecting it should be high on your priority list.
  • As a solo practitioner, you want to take all the necessary steps to ensure your company looks like and functions as an entity separate from yourself individually.
  • With partners and investors, the right agreements and contracts will ensure that interests are protected, as well as individual liabilities are minimized and limited.
The risk and stress of opening a practice or business demands time, attention, and experience. Before expending too much energy and financing, it is highly recommended that you gather an experienced team to handle the task and help ensure your start-up is geared for success.
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About the author: Chase Howard is an attorney at the Florida Healthcare Law Firm in Delray Beach, FL. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 September 2019 05:47
 
My hand surgeon should have been paid $4.5 billion. Instead, he didn't get even $1,000. Print E-mail
Written by Jay Crawford, MD | KevinMD   
Wednesday, 04 September 2019 08:09

I believe that health care providers aren't paid anything close to what they are worth to society. I don't mean this in the sappy emotional sense in which the "value of any human's life is infinite," or any other subjective standard. I am talking about real-world, measurable economic impacts. Using the entrepreneurs' 10% reward as a guide, health care providers create astronomical value for which they are paid a small token. In 2016, self-made billionaire Naveen Jain asked and answered: "If you want to make $1 billion, all you have to do is solve a $10 billion problem." That 10% reward for an entrepreneur's creation is a useful rule of thumb: Jeff Bezos is worth $100 billion because he created a $1 trillion solution to retail sales. I applied this scale to a hand surgeon using a real-world patient - me - and was surprised by the results.

Read More>>
 
When an EHR Is Hacked by Russians Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 12 August 2019 14:04

A disturbing post by urologist Daniel Ricchiuti, MD appeared in KevinMD on 8.10.19:  
 
Any positives experienced over the past seven years of EHR at NEO Urology Associates were instantly negated this past week. Monday morning our practice screeched to a complete halt at the hands of a foreign hacker from Russia who demanded $85,000 ransom from our practice in Boardman, Ohio, United States of America. The hacker's leverage for cash was our precious patient files... During The Hack our entire practice could not send or receive faxes, call patients, receive phone calls from hospitals or even access patient files on our EHR. Three hundred fifty-plus patients visits were canceled without us being able to inform them that their appointments were canceled... A career in medicine is innately filled with stressful situations. As doctors, we encounter complex decisions one after another, where the implications of those decisions will change the course of another person's life. Doctors have faced stress and have dealt with these stresses in their own ways for centuries. However, the contemporary physician is asked to deal with these stressful situations in addition to an equal amount of "non-medical" issues throughout the day. The introduction to information technology has added yet another complex blanket of stress that encompasses physicians. 

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>
 
Americans Are Not Getting the Message about Exercising More and Sitting Less Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 29 July 2019 16:57

Alice Park reports for TIME on 7.26.19:  
 
Doctors and public health officials have been urging Americans to get more active and try to exercise at least 150 minutes per week at a moderate level, or 75 minutes weekly at a vigorous level. Even if you can't fit in that much activity, studies show that any exercise is better than none when it comes to health benefits like lowering risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. But have all of these messages had an effect? That's what researchers led by Dr. Wei Bao, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa, wanted to find out in a recent study. 

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Last Updated on Monday, 29 July 2019 17:00
 
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