The path to become a licensed physician is far from easy. Countless hours of education and training are too valuable an investment to jeopardize with a lawsuit. By age 65, more than 75 percent of doctors in minimal-risk specialties and 99 percent of those in high-risk specialties will face a claim at some point. A lawsuit can be stressful for even the most experienced health care provider. Yet, there are steps every physician can take to avoid legal action.
- Decline kickbacks: The federal anti-kickback law is a criminal statute intended to prevent medical fraud and abuse by physicians accepting rewards for referrals for items or services reimbursed by government health care programs. Doctors who accept money, gifts, or trips in exchange for patient referrals for these services risk significant fines and even jail time.
- Stay platonic: Most states have a no-tolerance policy on sexual misconduct between a physician and a patient. Patients should always remain patients. Crossing sexual boundaries can take a toll on your reputation and credibility, and lead to litigation.
- Do not prescribe sight unseen: Prescribing medication for any individual the physician does not have a clinical relationship with can lead to fines and even a license suspension in some states. An in-person examination and medical history with the prescribing physician is essential for the prescription of medication on paper or electronically.
- Release patient records upon request: Withholding medical records that are pending payment from a patient is illegal in most states. As tempting as it may be to hold records until the patient pays their bill, it is not a viable way to get paid. You can require them to follow proper protocol for requesting records and to pay for any copies you provide.
- Be diligent about staying compliant: Reinstating or changing the status on an inactive or expired medical license or certification in Pennsylvania requires a full Board review and potential skills review and retraining. Always read the fine print to stay current on your license, continuing medical education (CME), and other relevant credentials.
Health care is an enormously rewarding career path. Remember these tips to avoid the stressful and costly legal action that distracts you from caring for the health and well-being of your patients.
Philadelphia Physician Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Health Care Professionals Facing Legal Action
Most physicians will encounter some type of claim at some point in their career. It is essential to entrust your reputation and future success to the skilled Philadelphia physician lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Whether you are building a practice or are a seasoned physician, you need skilled legal representation. Call 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Based in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.