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UCF Medical Student and Her Furry Friend Bring Smiles to the Faces of Ill Children During the Holidays

i4Perfection150429-1A6A0291-Edit-EditBy Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D.

University of Central Florida (UCF) second-year medical student, Christa Zino, and her 2-year-old adopted canine friend, Ion (a boxer), know that smiles can go a long way in healing the spirits of hospital-bound children during the holidays.  And they don’t stop there.  Zino and Ion visit Nemours Children’s Hospital (Nemours) in Orlando most Friday evenings to bring some joy to children who often have to endure extended hospital stays, arduous medical tests and procedures, and separation from family, home and school.  Most of these young children lack a normal childhood experience due to their illnesses, but Zino knows that Ion has what it takes to keep these tenacious little ones going strong regardless of their current circumstance.

That’s why even a busy schedule and final exams cannot keep Zino and Ion away from Nemours this month.  UCF Today quoted Zino as stating, “When I think it is too much and that I can’t handle everything, this reminds me…why I want to be a pediatric surgeon.  I want to help children like the ones I see every week.”

For more information on the benefits of animal-assisted activities, visit the Nemours website here.

Getting to Know Ion: 65 Pounds of Friendly Canine.

Ion is one of Zino’s three canine companions chosen by Zino to become officially certified for pet therapy.  Ion was adopted by Zino from Florida Boxer Rescue.  Zino says Ion is reserved around children and “gentle in a way he never is when he’s just with me [Zino].”  The fact that Ion is all-around a big fur ball of friendly should not be surprising considering his beginning (prior to rescue).  Apparently Ion has always lacked aggression, which most dog owners would appreciate, but ironically landed Ion on Craigslist by a disgruntled former owner who was disappointed that Ion was not a “fighting champion.”

Good riddance, however, because it seems Ion has found his perfect fit with Zino as a “health care professional,” providing therapy to others in the form of palm kisses and snuggles.  And he’s quite the hit within the UCF campus community of medical students as well, providing Zino’s fellow stressed-out and sleep-deprived classmates with a welcomed “pick-me-up” three times a week.

Zino’s Inspiration to Assist Children: Drawing From Her Own Experience.

Zino knows firsthand how dismal hospital life can be for a child because she was an extended-stay patient as a child herself.  Zino was diagnosed with a bile-duct blockage as a toddler.  With her condition being so rare in someone so young, Zino spent 18 months in and out of hospitals and away from her home and Chihuahua in Apopka, Florida.

While Zino recalls very little from her experience, the one thing she vividly remembers is her visit from a furry friend.  As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Zino says she simply remembers “being happy” as a therapy dog sat on her bed keeping her company during a difficult time.

It was this very experience and positive memory that has led Zino to pursue a career as a pediatric surgeon as well as to carry on the grand tradition of meet-and-greets between sick children and a furry friend who shows up just in time to make them smile.

To read the full story as reported by UCF Today, click here.

Comments?

Are you currently a medical student, or are you considering a career in medicine?

Contact a Health Care Attorney that is Experienced in the Representation of Medical Students, Interns, Residents and Applicants, Fellows and Those Involved in Graduate Medical Education.

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent interns, residents, fellows and medical school students in disputes with their medical schools, supervisors, residency programs and in dismissal hearings. We have experience representing such individuals and those in graduate medical education programs in various disputes regarding their academic and clinical performance, allegations of substance abuse, failure to complete integral parts training, alleged false or incomplete statements on applications, allegations of impairment (because of abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol or because of mental or physical issues), because of discrimination due to race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation and any other matters.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Kotala, Zenaida.  “Therapy Dog Brings Smiles Back to Sick Children, Medical Students.”  UCF Today: 21 Dec. 2015.  Web.  21 Dec. 2015.

Santich, Kate.  “Canine Spreads Cheer to Ill Children.”  Orlando Sentinel: 18 Dec. 2015: Final Ed.: A1 &A6.  Print.

About the Author: Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D., is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Graduate medical education (GME), medical graduate attorney, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), graduate medical education attorney, lawyer for medical students, medical resident attorney, residency program legal dispute, residency program litigation, medical school litigation, legal representation for medical residents, medical students legal counsel, United States Medical Examiners (NBME) lawyer, health law attorney, The Health Law Firm, UCF medical student, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, canine therapy

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.

Copyright © 1996-2015 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

 

By |2015-12-21T18:58:31+00:00May 15th, 2018|Medical Education Law Blog|0 Comments

New Analysis Shows Number of Residency Positions Keeping Up With Increase in Medical Graduates

i4Perfection150429-1A6A0291-Edit-EditBy Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D.
According to a study done by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the number of students enrolling in medical schools has reached an all-time high.

In 2014, the total number of applicants rose by 3.1 percent. AAMC President, Darrel G. Kirch M.D., expressed concerns regarding the availability of residency training positions for aspiring doctors. Dr. Kirch stated: “As we face a worsening shortage of both primary and speciality physicians over the next two decades, Congress must increase federal support for residency training by lifting the 17-year-old cap on residency training positions imposed under the Balanced Budget Act.” To read the AAMC’s press release in its entirety, click here.

It is unsurprising that medical students across the nation are concerned about securing a residency position after graduation. However, an analysis conducted by The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggests that this General Medical Education (GME) “squeeze” is actually not as severe as many believe.

History Behind Medicare Resident Limit Caps.

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA) was established to cap the number of residents and fellows for the purposes of calculating Medicare reimbursements against each hospital’s most recent cost report. There are a few exceptions; the BBA cap on the number of residents does not apply to new programs in underserved rural areas for three years. After three years, these programs are considered to have enough time to fill their residency cohorts.

The Medicare program is the largest source of funding for GME. Given this limit of funding, many believe that it will also limit the number of residents and fellows.

Analysis Indicates Growth in Entry-Level GME Positions.

The NEJM studied data from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), AAMC, and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), for the time periods of 2004-2005 and 2013-2014. The NEJM found that entry-level GME positions increased from roughly 25,000 in 2004-2005, to about 29,000 in 2013-2014. This is a total increase of approximately 4,000 positions. Additionally, the number of U.S. graduates with M.D. and D.O. degrees grew from about 19,000 in 2004-2005, to roughly 23,000 in 2013-2014. This is an increase of approximately 4,000 graduates.

If the number of GME positions increases as it has been over the past decade, it is projected that there will be approximately 34,000 positions for medical graduates entering their first year of residency in 2023-2024. The number of medical students is expected to increase due to newly opened M.D. and D.O. schools. As a result, it is assumed by AAMC that a 2.4% annual growth of medical graduates will continue onto 2023-2024.

In 2023-2024, the number of graduates projected will be marginally more than 29,500. With these numbers, there will be approximately 4,500 more open positions for residency than U.S. medical graduates in 2023-2024. While the number of positions available to graduates compared to 2013-2014 is less, the amount of GME positions will still significantly exceed the amount of U.S. medical graduates.

What Does this Mean for Medical Graduates?

Although the amount of GME positions will exceed the amount of medical graduates, the gap is still narrowing over the years. Over the past 50 years, medical graduates benefitted from “selection subsidy,” which allowed them to start residency at the location and in the speciality of their own choosing. However, the likelihood of a medical graduate finding the exact location and speciality he or she desires may not be an option anymore. Despite this, the most intense competition for these residency positions lies amongst the International Medical Graduates (IMGs). Although U.S. graduates will be affected by this slight “squeeze,” IMGs face an overall tougher road. To read one of our previous blogs focusing on future physicians, click here.

Comments?

Do you think there is not enough residency positions to meet the influx of medical graduates? Do you think Congress should fund more GME positions in order to create a larger margin for U.S. graduates?

Contact a Health Care Attorney that is Experienced in the Representation of Medical Students, Interns, Residents and Applicants, Fellows and Those Involved in Graduate Medical Education.

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent interns, residents, fellows and medical school students in disputes with their medical schools, supervisors, residency programs and in dismissal hearings. We have experience representing such indiviuals and those in graduate medical education programs in various disputes regarding their academic and clinical performance, allegations of substance abuse, failure to complete integral parts training, alleged false or incomplete statements on applications, allegations of impairment (because of abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol or because of mental or physical issues), because of discrimination due to race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation and any other matters.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Vernon, Jamila. “More Students Going to Medical School Than Ever Before.” AAMC. October 29, 2015. Web.

“Why a GME Squeeze in UNlikely.” NEJM. November 4, 2015. Web.

“Medicare Resident Limits.” AAMC. Web.

“US Residency Training Before and After the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.” JAMA. September 10, 2008. Web.

About the Author: Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D., is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Graduate medical education (GME) positions, international medical graduate attorney, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Medicare resident limit caps, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), graduate medical education attorney, lawyer for medical students, medical resident attorney, residency program legal dispute, residency program litigation, medical school litigation, legal representation for medical residents, legal dispute with medical school, medical students legal counsel, disruptive physician attorney, impaired medical student legal counsel, impaired resident legal defense attorney, United States Medical Examiners (NBME) lawyer, teaching hospital plaintiff attorney, health law attorney, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 1996-2015 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2015-12-10T19:18:12+00:00May 15th, 2018|Medical Education Law|0 Comments

Cuban Lung Cancer Vaccine Followed Up With Clinical Trials In The United States

4 Indest-2009-3By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A lung cancer vaccine that was developed in Havana, Cuba, will be the first such clinical trial to be approved by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing to take place in the U.S.  The approval was announced on October 26, 2016, by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with officials from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY.  The trial could start as soon as November 2016 and will enroll around 60 to 90 patients. They are estimating that it will take about three years to complete.

This lung cancer trial will test the CIMAvax-EGF vaccine, combined with an immunotherpay drug called Opdivo. Opdivo has already been approved in the U.S. To learn more about the CIMAvax-EGF vaccine visit the Roswell Park Cancer Institute website by clicking here.

A Research Partnership.

Governor Cuomo praised the fact that the FDA’s action followed the promotion of a research partnership between Roswell and Cuba’s Center of Molecular Immunology (CIM) that occurred during a New York state trade mission in 2015.

Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. There is a five year survival rate of only 17 percent of those who fall ill with lung cancer.  According to Grace Dy, the principal investigator in the Roswell Park trail, “We’re at an early stage in the development of this vaccine, which has never before been given to U.S. patients, so we have a lot to learn through this study, But the evidence so far is encouraging.”

The vaccine developed by CIM has been approved by a number of countries such as Paraguay and Peru.  Even though the vaccine has been approved by several countries already, Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer as the American Cancer Society, has taken a cautious stance on the matter.

Litchenfeld stated, “currently we do not have the information we need to have to know whether or not this vaccine could be useful in treating lung cancer or possibly be used to prevent cancer in patients at high risks of developing lung cancer. The studies that have been reported from Cuba are small and have limitations that prevent us from knowing how the treatment could be applied to the typical patient with lung cancer.”

Currently, the United States and Cuba are working collaboratively to make certain that this vaccine will be as effectively as possible and help those suffering from lung cancer.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:
“CHIPSA Looks Into Cuban Lung Cancer Vaccine United States Is Studying.” CHIPSA Hospital. (2016). Web.

Lee, Kelvin. “Where Does CIMAvax Currently Stand?” Roswell Park Cancer Institute. (March 28, 2016). Web.

McGinely, Laurie. “In A First, U.S. Trial To Test Cuban Lung Cancer Vaccine.” The Washington Post. (October 27, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Legal representation for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigations, FDA investigation fraud defense attorney, legal counsel for clinical research, clinical research defense attorney, reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm reviews, misconduct in science legal defense, clinical investigator defense attorney, institutional review board (IRB) investigation defense, legal representation for health care professionals, Department of Health (DOH) investigation defense attorney, scientific investigation attorney, legal counsel for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigations, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigations defense attorney, The Health Law Firm, clinical investigation misconduct defense counsel, National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant fraud defense attorney, Office of Research Integrity (ORI) defense attorney

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

By |2016-12-19T07:00:46+00:00May 15th, 2018|Medical Education Law Blog|0 Comments

Medical School Applications Reach an All-Time High in 2015: Good News in the Face of Physician Shortage

i4Perfection150429-1A6A0291-Edit-EditBy Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported in March of 2015, that by the year 2025, demand for physicians will exceed the supply by a projected shortfall of 46,100 to 90,400.  Although significant, these numbers are much smaller than numbers previously projected in a 2010 study.  That study reported demand to exceed supply by 130,600.  One of the factors supporting the difference between the 2015 and 2010 projections is the rise in the number of physicians completing their graduate medical education from 27,000 to approximately 29,000 annually.

To read the full Final Report addressing The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections from 2013 to 2025 submitted by IHS Inc. for AAMC, click here.

With this being the case, the new number of medical school enrollees for 2015, should shed some hope over these dismal projections.  According to data released by AAMC in October 2015, the number of students enrolling in medical schools across the nation has increased by a whopping 25 percent since 2002, reaching an all-time high of 20,630 this year.  Locally, the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine received 4,875 applicants this year.  That is an increase from last year by about 700 applicants.  Overall, the number of medical school applicants rose by more than 6 percent in 2015, which doubles the percentage of 2014.

https://www.aamc.org/download/446454/data/applicants2015large.png

Increased Efforts to Diversify.

President and CEO of the AAMC, Darrell G. Kirch MD, stated, “The nation’s medical schools are creating innovative education and training programs to prepare tomorrow’s doctors to meet the challenges of the changing health care environment.  This dynamic landscape is leading to a record number of students applying to and enrolling in medical school.”

Dr. Kirch is hopeful that the consistent increases in the number of applicants and the broadened diversity of students enrolling in medical school will continue.  Dr. Kirch encourages medical schools to sustain efforts in their communities to diversify the applicant pool through pipeline programs, outreach efforts and holistic review initiatives.

The year 2015 brought increases in nearly every racial and ethnic category as medical school classes continued to diversify.  Most significantly, African American enrollees rose by 11.6 percent from last year, with the number of applicants increasing by an impressive 16.8 percent.  The number of Hispanic or Latino applicants was not far behind with a marked 10.3 percent increase from last year.  This category saw an increase in enrollees as well.  And while the percentage of male enrollees versus female enrollees remained consistent with last year’s numbers, first-time applicants saw a 6.2 percent increase among women.

To read more about the overall increases in applicants and enrollees, click here.

Physician Shortage May Still Persist.

In a statement released in March 2015, Dr. Kirch said, “The doctor shortage is real–it’s significant–and it’s particularly serious for the kind of medical care that our aging population is going to need.”  Dr. Kirch relied upon the study conducted by the Life Science division of IHS Inc. for AAMC in support of his statement.  The study shows that physician demand over the next decade is projected to grow faster than supply by up to 17 percent.  Furthermore, the forecast is believed to persist under every likely scenario including:

(a)    increased use of advanced practice nurses (APRNs);

(b)    greater use of alternative settings such as retail clinics;

(c)    delayed physician retirement;

(d)    rapid changes in payment and delivery; and

(e)    other modeled scenarios.

Dr. Kirch contends, “Because training a doctor takes between five and [ten] years, we must act now, in 2015, if we are going to avoid serious physician shortages in 2025.”  Dr. Kirch believes that the solution for the higher-end physician shortage projections will require a multi-pronged approach.  This approach includes:

(a)    innovation in delivery;

(b)    greater use of technology;

(c)    improved, efficient use of all health professionals on the care team; and

(d)    an increase in federal support for residency training with the goal being to train at least 3,000 more doctors each year.

The study confirmed that no single solution is sufficient on its own in providing a resolution to the physician shortages.  It must be a collaboration of efforts.  And according to Dr. Kirch and judging by this year’s numbers, it would seem medical schools are most certainly doing their part to prepare the next generation of health care professionals able to take on the growing health care needs of our aging population.

To read more about the key findings on the physician supply and demand through 2025, click here.

Contact a Health Care Attorney that is Experienced in the Representation of Medical Students, Interns, Residents and Applicants, Fellows and Those Involved in Graduate Medical Education.

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent interns, residents, fellows and medical school students in disputes with their medical schools, supervisors, residency programs and in dismissal hearings. We have experience representing such individuals and those in graduate medical education programs in various disputes regarding their academic and clinical performance, allegations of substance abuse, failure to complete integral parts training, alleged false or incomplete statements on applications, allegations of impairment (because of abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol or because of mental or physical issues), because of discrimination due to race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation and any other matters.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

“Medical School Applicants, Enrollees Reach New Highs.”  Association of American Medical Colleges: 22 Oct. 2015.  Web.  29 Dec. 2015.

Miller, Naseem S.  “Medical School Applications Increased in 2015.”  Orlando Sentinel: 26 Oct. 2015.  Web.  28 Dec. 2015.

“New Physician Workforce Projections Show the Doctor Shortage Remains Significant.”  Association of American Medical Colleges: 3 Mar. 2015.  Web.  29 Dec. 2015.

About the Author: Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D., is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Graduate medical education (GME), medical graduate attorney, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), graduate medical education attorney, lawyer for medical students, medical resident attorney, residency program legal dispute, residency program litigation, medical school litigation, legal representation for medical residents, medical students legal counsel, United States Medical Examiners (NBME) lawyer, health law attorney, The Health Law Firm, UCF College of Medicine applicants, UCF College of Medicine enrollees

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.

Copyright © 1996-2015 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2015-12-30T15:05:17+00:00May 15th, 2018|Medical Education Law Blog|0 Comments

Universities Turning to New Unconventional Strategies to Prevent Medical Errors

4 Indest-2009-3By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

A study by patient safety researchers published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2016 revealed that common medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. Now, universities are looking to address this problem by focusing on ways of teaching students, clinicians and administrators to look at these problems in a new light.

Click here to read the study published in the BMJ.

Teaching a Martian to make a PB & J Sandwich.

These new programs focus on the importance of communicating medical directions. So, what does making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich have to do with preventing medical errors? Well, the program sheds new light on just how carefully worded medical directions need to be. For example, students in these new programs are directed to explain how to make the sandwich to someone who is completely unfamiliar with the English language, such as a Martian.

Simple directions become much more confusing to those who are not familiar with our ways of speaking. Donna Woods, an associate professor who directs this new course work, further elaborated on this concept by saying, “Invariably the student will write, ‘open the bag of bread’ and so the acting patient (the Martian) rips the bottom of the bag of bread instead of opening the twisty tie at the top of the bag.”

The new method is meant to teach the students that their directions can often be misunderstood and not carried out as intended. Therefore, medical professionals need to be aware of this and be very precise in their delivery of medical directions.

The Importance of Doctor-patient Communications.

The new course also focuses on doctor-patient communications and has implemented an unconventional method of teaching it. The class splits into two teams and are directed to build the tallest building possible. They are to build according to how the customer or in their case, the patient desires it. In this study, the patients were instructed to only reveal how they wanted their building to look if asked. This method highlights how in the hustle and bustle of the medical world, the act of asking patients what they need and want is often overlooked.

This type of course, paired with new methods, are designed to show students why the medical field can be so complicated and the ways in which they can improve it to avoid common medical errors.

To learn more on the dilemma of medical errors in the U.S., click here to read one of my prior blogs.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Professionals and Providers.

At the Health Law Firm we provide legal services for all health care providers and professionals. We represent physicians accused of wrongdoing, in patient complaints and in Department of Health investigations. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, Durable Medical Equipment suppliers, medical students and interns, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, pain management clinics, nursing homes, and any other healthcare provider. We represent facilities, individuals, groups and institutions in contracts, sales, mergers and acquisitions.

The lawyers of The Health Law Firm are experienced in both formal and informal administrative hearings and in representing physicians in investigations and at Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine hearings.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.ThehealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Sweltlitz, Ike. “Teaching a Martian to make a sandwich helps clinicians catch medical errors.” The Boston Globe. (November 7, 2016). Web.

White, Jesse. “5 strategies for hospitals to prevent medical errors.” Healthcare Business Technology. (May 19, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

Key Words: New course work to prevent medical errors, medical errors in the health care field, legal representation for medical errors, importance of communicating medical directions, importance of doctor-patient communications, medical errors defense attorney, medical negligence defense attorney, legal representation for health care professionals, legal representation for medical students, legal representation for medical fellows, legal representation for medical residents, medical student defense attorney, defense attorney for medical fellows and residents, reviews of The Health Law Firm, The Health Law Firm attorney reviews

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2016-11-23T16:09:00+00:00May 15th, 2018|Medical Education Law Blog|0 Comments

What Medical Students Need to Know About a Finding of “Irregular Behavior” on a USMLE Step Transcript – Part One

i4Perfection150429-1A6A0291-Edit-EditBy Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D. and George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health

The United States Medical Licensee Examination (USMLE) Step exams are a major component of students’ journey through medical school.  Most students focus on preparing a study plan and earning the ideal score to get into a residency program of their choice.  However, many medical students are not aware of the potentially career-damaging finding of “Irregular Behavior” on their USMLE Step transcript.

In this two-part series blog, we will discuss what constitutes irregular behavior and what the next course of action should be if there is a finding of irregular behavior.

What is Irregular Behavior?

In short, irregular behavior is typically regarded as cheating by medical school officials and residency program directors, even though it is not exactly the same thing.  Any such finding will be stamped on a USMLE transcript with a detailed letter of explanation attached to it.  This letter may come from the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), the USMLE, or the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).  Regardless of the organization it came from, the letter alleging irregular behavior typically states the following:

-A bulletin or policy related to the exam stating that irregular behavior is not permitted.

-The facts alleging irregular behavior in this case.

-The opportunity to respond to the allegations, in person, with counsel.

What a Finding of Irregular Behavior Can Mean for Medical Students.

A finding of irregular behavior can be a career ending event.  At the very least, it may delay graduation from medical school.  It may also disqualify medical graduates from many jobs or residency positions.  Additionally, USMLE Step scores are withheld from the test-taker while the USMLE Committee reviews the matter, or until a hearing has been held.

If a finding of irregular behavior is made, then usually the test-taker’s best score is voided and he or she must retake the exam.  The USMLE committee may also require the test-taker to wait a year or more to retake the exam.  Further, the finding of irregular behavior will be stamped on the test-taker’s USMLE transcript and visible to anyone that views it.

Conduct Defined as “Irregular Behavior.”

The USMLE defines “irregular behavior” as conduct that includes (but is not limited to) the following:

(1)    Seeking, providing, or obtaining unauthorized access to examination materials;

(2)    Providing false information, making false statements, or similar conduct in relation to application forms, scheduling permits, or related documents;

(3)    Taking an examination when the examinee is not really eligible for it (or attempting to do so);

(4)    Impersonating another test-taker or engaging a different person to take the examination for the actual applicant;

(5)    Obtaining, giving, or receiving assistance during the examination or attempting to do so (except for certain authorized acts);

(6)    Making notes in the secure areas of the test center, except for notes on the writing materials provided at the test center for this purpose;

(7)    Failing to comply with or follow any USMLE policy, procedure, or rule;

(8)    Failing to follow instructions of the test center staff;

(9)    Abuse or harassment (verbal or physical) of test center staff or any other disruptive or unprofessional behavior at the test center;

(10)    Being in possession of any unauthorized materials, including photographic equipment, or communication or recording devices, including electronic paging devices and cellular telephones, in the secure testing areas;

(11)    Changing or misrepresenting your examination scores to others;

(12)    The unauthorized reproduction of any examination materials or dissemination of them by any means, including via the Internet (this includes, for example memorizing them and repeating them, restructuring them, discussing the actual questions and answers, etc.). Note: all test questions and testing materials are copyrighted. You could be prosecuted or sued for violation of the NBME’s copyrights, and this has actually happened; and

(13)    Communicating or attempting to communicate about specific test questions, answers, items, or cases with any other examinee, potential examinee, or preparation group at any time.

Other Negative Findings by USMLE That May Be Detrimental.

In addition to irregular behavior, USMLE has also accused a test-taker of “Anomalous Results.”  This means that a test-taker made answer selections that look suspect (i.e., putting down answer choice “C” for every question).  For more information about other negative findings by USMLE, contact our office.

Stay tuned for the second part of this two-part blog series on irregular behavior where we will discuss the steps that are recommended to combat a finding of irregular behavior.

Comments?

Have you been accused of irregular behavior? How did you handle this allegation? Do you think a report of irregular behavior would hurt your professional career in any way?

Contact a Health Care Attorney that is Experienced in the Representation of Medical Students, Interns, Residents and Applicants, Fellows and Those Involved in Graduate Medical Education.

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent interns, residents, fellows and medical school students in disputes with their medical schools, supervisors, residency programs and in dismissal hearings. We have experience representing such individuals and those in graduate medical education programs in the following areas: in various disputes regarding their academic and clinical performance, allegations of substance abuse, failure to complete integral parts training, alleged false or incomplete statements on applications, allegations of impairment (because of abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol or because of mental or physical issues), discrimination due to race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation and any other matters, reviewing and negotiating contracts, preparing contracts, helping employers and employees enforce contracts, advice on setting aside or voiding contracts, litigation of contracts (in state or federal court), business transactions, professional license defense, opinion letters, representation in investigations, fair hearing defense, representation in peer review and clinical privileges hearings, litigation of restrictive covenants (covenants not to compete).

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

4 Indest-2009-3About the Authors: Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D., is an attorney with The Health Law Firm.  George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law.  He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice.  Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area.  www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: United States Medical Licensee Examination (USMLE) Step exams, irregular behavior, graduate medical education (GME), medical graduate attorney, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), graduate medical education attorney, lawyer for medical students, medical resident attorney, residency program legal dispute, residency program litigation, medical school litigation, legal representation for medical residents, medical students legal counsel, National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) lawyer, health law attorney, The Health Law Firm, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), anomalous results, USMLE Step transcript

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.

Copyright © 1996-2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

By |2016-01-28T16:13:13+00:00May 15th, 2018|Medical Education Law Blog|0 Comments

Investigating Caribbean Medical Schools for USMLE Irregularities

4 Indest-2009-3By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

We are asking whether the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), perhaps acting through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), is investigating Caribbean medical schools such as Ross University School of Medicine, Dominica, West Indies (RUSM); Aureus University School of Medicine, Aruba (AUSM); American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, St. Maarten (AUCSM); Atlantic University School of Medicine, St. Lucia (AUSOM); or others, based on recent potential client consultations. We have had recent reports that seem to indicate at least one such investigation might be ongoing and relate to allegations that students may have been advised to falsify information provided on applications to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), Step 1, Step 2CK and Step 2CS.

Providing incorrect. incomplete or false information on an application to take one of the Step examinations is, of course, defined as “irregular behavior.”  This is a term used by the USMLE to refer to a number of different types of situations.  Please see a previous blog I wrote on this subject by clicking here.

Unfortunately, if you are accused of irregular behavior and you are not successful at disproving this charge, your transcript of USMLE step examination test scores will be marked with an entry of “Irregular Behavior.”  It is on there for life.  To someone reading this transcript, this often is interpreted the same as “Cheater.”  We have heard from those who have suffered this outcome that it has prevented them from matching for residencies and obtaining jobs.  To see another blog I wrote about this, click here.

From what we have been able to piece together, there are allegations that one or more staff members at one or more Caribbean medical schools advised to delete any reference to a prior medical school attended on that person’s application to take a Step examination.  Why this could have been done, we can only speculate.

Regardless, we have been informed that officials from one or more of the organizations involved in approving those who sit for the Step exams have been requesting affidavits from students relating to all of the facts and circumstances surrounding such advice from a medical school employee.  In another case, we have seen a written request from one of the organizations for any information regarding any conversations that student had with officials at two different Caribbean Universities, including complete details.

The last such big scale investigation of which we were aware centered around the now defunct Optima University prep course cheating scandal involving hundreds of foreign medical graduates.  To read an article I wrote on this, click here:

To see a blog I wrote on this, click here:

Hopefully, this matter will not turn out to be as serious as the Optima University matter was.

For some tips on preparing for a hearing to defend against allegations of irregular behavior, see this prior blog I wrote by clicking here.

Regardless, if you are approached by an investigator, receive a letter asking for an affidavit or statement from you or if you are accused of irregular behavior, please at least consult with a good, experienced attorney who knows about such matters before you do anything else.

What characteristics should you be looking for in an attorney to represent you in such cases?  Here are some questions I suggest you ask or research to obtain answers to before hiring an attorney.

1.
  What is your legal specialty?  Do you have one?  Is it recognized as a legal specialty by your state Bar association and supreme court?

2. 
Are you familiar with the NBME, USMLE and ECFMG, and hearings on irregular behavior?  Explain.

3.  How many hearings have you done where you appeared before a committee on irregular behavior of the ECFMG or NBME?

4.  How many physicians have you represented and in what types of cases?

5.  How long have you been practicing law?

 6.  Have you ever been disciplined by your state bar or any court or organization before which you practiced? (Research this one for yourself.)

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

Keywords: Irregular behavior hearing, Step 1 Exam, Step 2 Exam, investigation by National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), medical students, medical resident, irregular behavior, committee for individual review (CIR) defense attorney, United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), Reviews of The Health Law Firm, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), cheating, USMLE preparation course, USMLE hearings, USMLE appeals, foreign medical student defense lawyer, medical graduate defense attorney, defense lawyer for doctors, legal representation fro physicians, residents and intern legal representation, health care attorney, health care lawyer, Atlantic University School of Medicine (AUSOM) student lawyer, Aureus University School of Medicine (AUSM) student attorney; American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine student legal representation; Ross University School of Medicine, (RUSM) student lawyer, medical student lawyer, medical student attorney, medical resident lawyer, medical resident attorney, medical intern lawyer, medical intern attorney, civil proceeding, criminal proceeding, administrative proceeding, medical administrative hearings, administrative law, medical student legal defense counsel, medical resident lawyer, medical resident defense attorney, medical intern lawyer, medical intern attorney, accused of irregular behavior, The Health Law Firm reviews,

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved

By |2016-12-23T06:00:22+00:00May 15th, 2018|Medical Education Law Blog|0 Comments

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Enters Business Alliance to Expand Into Florida

Attorney George F. Indest III HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida (Baptist) announced a new “Cancer Alliance.” This unique alliance gives MSK a chance to expand its reach to Florida and bring the latest in clinical trials along with it. Hospitals such as Baptist, benefit greatly from Sloan-Kettering’s resources and impressive reputation. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is one of the most renowned cancer centers in the world and rated second for cancer care in the nation, according to a report by U.S. News & World.

Alliance Fulfills Fundamental Needs of Cancer Care in Florida.

Community hospitals in Florida, such as Baptist not only benefit from new resources, they will now have access to MSK’s physicians, latest treatment protocols and education resources. Baptist President and CEO Brian E. Keeley said its collaboration with MSK will save lives by bringing evidence-based, world-class treatment to its seven hospitals and more than 50 outpatient facilities throughout South Florida.

Baptist, which is based in Miami, is building a new $430 million cancer center on its main campus. It will feature South Florida’s first proton therapy center and will host advanced cancer fighting technologies.

Benefits For Both Institutions.

Baptist is not the only institution gaining from the alliance. MSK will gain access to hundreds of patients across the country for which clinical trials may be beneficial. The New York-based hospital will collaborate with physicians at Baptist on cancer treatments and clinical trials to introduce the latest and greatest therapies. In a statement, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, president and CEO of MSK said, “Today, we recognize the need to do more. Central to our mission is eradicating cancer, and through the MSK Cancer Alliance – and in collaboration with Miami Cancer Institute – we have a unique opportunity to share our knowledge and best practices with a wider patient population.”

In addition, clinical trials often attract more patients who are facing rare cancers and do not respond to conventional treatments. Which in return, gives the local hospitals the ability to gain valuable experience and become a well-known resource themselves.

To read the press release issued by MSK, click here.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Professionals and Providers.

At The Health Law Firm we provide legal services for all health care providers and professionals. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, Durable Medical Equipment suppliers, medical students and interns, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, pain management clinics, nursing homes, and any other health care provider. We represent facilities, individuals, groups and institutions in contracts, sales, mergers and acquisitions.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Goldberg, Dan. “Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Alliance Expands to Florida.” Politico New York/AHLA. (February 10, 2016). Web.

Bendell, Brian. “Baptist Health’s cancer institute aligns with Memorial Sloan Kettering.” South Florida Business Journal. (February 10, 2016). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealth Lawfirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone; (407) 331-6620

KeyWords: Cancer Alliance, cancer business collaboration, Memorial Sloan-Kettering (MSK), Baptist Health South Florida (Baptist), Miami Cancer Institute, cancer research, clinical trials, advanced cancer therapies, advanced cancer fighting technologies, clinical trial defense attorney, health law attorney, Florida health lawyer, The Health Law Firm

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2018-07-06T01:54:24+00:00May 15th, 2018|Medical Education Law Blog|0 Comments

Hospital Negligence Lawsuit Dropped by Florida High Court

The Health Law Firm Attorney George F. Indest III HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On November 30, 2016, The Florida Supreme Court announced the decision to dismiss a negligence suit filed against a hospital over the death of patient Ashley Lawson.  Lawson escaped from Shands Teaching Hospital and Clinic, Inc.  The Shands psychiatric hospital is now known as the UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital and is located in Gainesville, Florida.

The main legal issue in this case was whether the conduct of the hospital was ordinary negligence or was medical negligence (medical malpractice).  In Florida, if the facts alleged constitute a claim for simple negligence, then there are no pre-suit proceedings required, no medical expert witnesses required, and it is usually much easier and much less expensive to try the case.  However, if the facts stated in the suit are medical negligence allegations, then there are a number of procedural hurdles that a plaintiff must overcome.  Additionally, the case is usually much more expensive and time consuming to try.

Patient Was Mentally Ill.

Ashley Lawson was admitted to the hospital on November 1, 2012, because of a psychiatric illness, impulsive behavior, drug abuse and several suicide attempts, according to reports.  According to her estate’s initial jurisdictional brief, Lawson was transferred to the locked impatient unit at Shands for her own safety.

Lawson Allegedly Freed Herself.

According to reports, an employee’s badge and keys were left unattended, which gave Lawson the opportunity to free herself and escape on January 23, 2013.  Lawson died soon after she had escaped.  She was struck and killed by a tractor trailer on Interstate 75.

A Request To Reconsider The Ruling.

On November 15, 2016, the Florida Supreme Court abandoned its denial of a motion from defendant-appellee Shands Teaching Hospital and Clinics, Inc. asking it to reconsider its ruling from September 13, 2016.  The earlier ruling denied a motion for voluntary dismissal filed by the plaintiff, the Estate of Ashley Lawson.  The court’s earlier denials had decided not to dismiss the case by a 4 to 3 split decision, with Chief of Justice Jorge Labarga and Justices Barbara J. Pariente, James F.C. Perry and R. Fred Lewis in the majority and Justices Ricky Polston, Charles Canady and Peggy Quince dissenting.

Since the ruling on November 15, 2016, Lawson’s estate had relinquished its right to file a brief on the merits, noting that the parties are “contractually prohibited from further litigation in this matter.”  This language seems to indicate that a settlement had been reached between the parties.  Shands Hospital filed a motion on November 27, 2016, looking for instructions on its due process rights and its counsel’s duty to proceed.  Shands stated:  “Respondent believes it should be entitled to submit a merits brief to this court and present oral argument since, as this court has made apparent through its orders, it views this case as involving an important issue of statewide impact.”

Where Do You Draw The Line?

This case in particular has raised questions on where the line should be drawn between medical negligence and ordinary negligence.  However, in the motion for reconsideration, Shands Hospital stated that there was no certification of a question of great public importance or a certified district conflict made in the lower court’s decision in the case.

Shands Hospital’s motion to dismiss the case had been denied by the trial court.  Shands then appealed the Florida First District Court of Appeal. The three-judge panel on the Court of Appeal was unable to come up with a definitive result, so the entire Court of Appeal decided to review the case and final reached a 8-6 decision to trump the lower court’s denial.

After that, Lawson’s estate brought the case to the Florida Supreme Court, seeking reversal based on its argument that the First District Court of Appeal’s decision allegedly conflicted with two Fifth District Court of Appeal decisions on what constitutes ordinary negligence versus medical malpractice (medical negligence).  The estate asked for an extension to file its initial merits brief, stating that the parties were discussing a settlement. On July 28, 2016, the estate filed a notice for voluntary dismissal because a deal was in place.

The Supreme Court took the position that the settlement notwithstanding, the Supreme Court should move forward with the case.  Court’s will often do this when they expect that the legal question will come up again and again in the future, unless they go ahead and decide it.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents physicians, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the DEA, Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.  We represent medical students, interns, residents, and fellows in disputes with their graduate medical education (GME) programs.  We represent clinical professors and instructors in contract disputes, employment disputes, clinical privileges matters and other disputes with their employers.  We often act as the physician’s personal counsel in medical malpractice litigation.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com

Sources:
“Shands Teaching Hospital and Clinic Inc. v. Estate of Ashley Lawson.” FindLaw. (August 28, 2015). Web.

Hale, Nathan. “In Shift, Fla. High Court Drops Hospital Negligence Suit.” Law360. (November 30, 2016). Web.

“Justice Won’t Drop Case In Shands Vista Patients Death.” The Gainesville Sun. (September 16, 2016). Web.

“Court Sides With Hospital In Death of Escaped Patient.” Health News Florida. (August 31, 2015). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

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Colorado physician defense lawyer, Virginia doctor’s defense attorney, Louisiana physician defense legal counsel, Kentucky doctor’s defense lawyer, District of Columbia (D.C.) physician defense attorney

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of and a registered service mark of The Health Law Firm, P.A., a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2018 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2018-06-21T22:37:37+00:00May 15th, 2018|Medical Education Law Blog|0 Comments

Contracting 101: Tips for Physicians and Health Professionals – Part 3

Attorney George F. Indest III Headshot By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

This blog is the first in a series intended to provide an introductory review of the basics of contracting for medical graduates entering the work force as residents and fellows, primarily by discussing employment agreements. We will highlight many of the common provisions found in employment contracts, along with many of the mistakes and pitfalls that we see in our day-to-day practice.

By the end of this series it is our hope that medical graduates will better understand the common language and terms found in employment contracts for professionals. These tips purpose to assist new professionals in recognizing common mistakes made by physicians and health professionals when negotiating contract terms. We hope to help make both employers and employees more knowledgeable about employment contracts so they can avoid potential problem areas and legal entanglements.

Our comments here are meant to provide general rules we have learned from our experience. However, please remember, every situation is different and there are exceptions to every rule. These tips are not intended to constitute legal advice. We recommend contacting an experienced health attorney for questions or concerns regarding specific employment contracts, or to thoroughly review all of the contract terms prior to acceptance.

The first part of the series can be found here. The second part of the series can be found here.

Tip 6 – Be Sure That You Receive a Signed, Dated Copy Back Before You First Start Working.

If you are an employee, be sure that you receive a copy of the contract back that has actually been signed and dated by the employer. One of the most common legal problems we encounter when we consult with an employee whose employer has broken the contract is the absence of a signed or dated copy of the contract. Anyone can type up a blank contract. There may be many preliminary drafts of a contract that are not agreed to or executed by the parties. How can you prove that this is the actual agreement between the parties if you do not have a copy that is signed by the parties?

Tip 7 – Make Sure That all Exhibits, Schedules, Addendums and Referenced Documents are Attached to the Contract.

We often see contracts which refer to attached exhibits for job requirements, bonus calculations, benefits, employer handbooks, employer code of ethics or conduct, etc. However, in many cases these are not completed or not attached to the contract when it is signed. Make sure that any documents that are referred to by the contract are actually attached to it and are completed.

These are part of the contract. Your copy of the contract is not complete without them.

Tip 8 – Amend the Contract, By Hand if Necessary, to Make It Consistent with the Agreement of the Parties.

A contract is not a sacred document. You may write on it, if necessary, to amend it. You may also attach separate handwritten amendments to it. Just make sure any handwritten changes on the contract itself are initialed by each party. Make sure any amendments attached to it are signed and dated by each party to the contract. Remember, also, that the changes must be understandable. If a judge is later called on to read it and interpret it, it must be clear to the judge.

Under the general rules used to construe contracts, typed changes and amendments to preprinted forms take precedence over the preprinted portions. Handwritten changes and amendments take precedence over typed or preprinted portions, and spelled out numbers and dates supercede numerical ones (if there is a conflict). However, there must be evidence that these were agreed to by both parties (such as initials or signatures prove).

Future Blogs on Employment Contracting.

In our future blogs, we will continue to provide tips on various issues to watch for in health care employment contracts.

Contact a Health Care Attorney Experienced in Negotiating and Evaluating Physician and Health Professional’s Business Transactions.

At the Health Law Firm we provide legal services for all health care providers and professionals. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, durable medical equipment suppliers (DME), medical students and interns, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, pain management clinics, nursing homes, and any other health care provider.

The services we provide include reviewing and negotiating contracts, preparing contracts, helping employers and employees enforce contracts, advice on setting aside or voiding contracts, litigation of contracts (in start or federal court), business transactions, professional license defense, opinion letters, representation in investigations, fair hearing defense, representation in peer review and clinical privileges hearings, litigation of restrictive covenant (covenants not to compete), Medicare and Medicaid audits, commercial litigation, and administrative hearings.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: physician employment agreement, physician employment contract, health professional contracting, negotiating business transactions, physician contracts, contracting tips, contract attorney, business law attorney, business lawyer, contract lawyer, contract litigation, business litigation, contract terms, physician agreements, business transactions, restrictive covenants, noncompetition agreements, covenants not to compete, business ventures

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2018-07-09T19:57:06+00:00May 15th, 2018|Medical Education Law Blog|2 Comments
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