Healthcare is a unique area of law that requires attorneys to have a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience. Hospitals, physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists and other healthcare providers often need a lawyer to help them start their healthcare practice, or navigate the insurance and Medicare minefields, or provide an analysis of a particular arrangement under the Federal Stark or Anti-kickback laws, or assist them with regulatory matters. So how does a healthcare provider find a good healthcare attorney?
Tip #1: Find an attorney who regularly represents healthcare providers
Healthcare is governed by a wide range of complex Federal and state statutes, laws, regulations, and guidelines. Licensed providers are also regulated by their state board and they are bound by insurance laws and contracts, payer policies and guidelines, court opinions, and agency advisories. As an illustration, suppose an attorney was asked by a medical doctor whether it is legal for him or her to co-own a medical practice with a chiropractor or an individual who is not a licensed provider. The attorney would have to review and interpret state laws for both medical doctors and chiropractors, corporate practice of medicine laws, state business and corporate laws, Federal Stark and Anti-kickback laws, and insurance contracts and policies. If you are looking for good insurance but need help comparing quotes go to Health Insurance Finder for help. This is often tedious and many attorneys who do not normally represent healthcare providers may not be aware of where to look to find answers to particular questions or issues that confront the healthcare provider. Attorneys who typically represent healthcare providers often have knowledge and experience with many of these laws and guidelines.
Tip #2: Contact the state association
Physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists, nurses and other healthcare providers often belong to state associations that represent the interests of each particular licensed provider. Most state associations are represented by a healthcare attorney. The attorney is hired by the board to assist the association with various legal matters. These attorneys often have experience and knowledge in healthcare matters. They are trusted professionals that the licensed providers can rely on. Providers should contact their state board to get the name of the board’s attorney.
Tip #3: Internet Search
Doing a search for “healthcare attorney” is a good way to start any search. Some internet searches may take you to law firms that focus on healthcare powers of attorney or malpractice lawyers. Unless these attorneys are what you are looking for, you should find a healthcare attorney that represents licensed providers for general matters. Most providers need an attorney to assist them with HIPAA compliance, insurance audits, Medicare audits, buying or selling a medical practice, healthcare reimbursement and compliance, etc. You should find an attorney in your state and you should contact three or four different law firms to discuss your particular situation so that you can gauge the attorney’s experience. Large law firms usually charge higher hourly rates then smaller firms, so you should also think about whether the higher fees are necessary for your particular situation.
Tip #4: Ask a colleague
If you need a contractor to do some home remodeling or a mechanic to fix your car, you often contact a friend or relative to refer you to someone. If you need a healthcare attorney, you should contact a professional colleague for a recommendation.
Tip #5: Go to a seminar
Attorneys who focus on particular practice areas of practice often give seminars and presentations. Healthcare attorneys are no different. Attending a seminar by an attorney is a win – win because the attorney can market himself to a particular group and the attendees receives useful information. Healthcare attorneys often present to particular licensed providers or they may give a seminar on a particular topic that affects many different licensed providers. These attorneys may have the expertise that you need.