Pharmacy Technicians Allowed to Administer Immunizations After New Florida Legislation

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

On July 1, 2022, Florida passed HB 1209, allowing registered pharmacy technicians to administer immunizations to patients. The new law utilizes pharmacy technicians to seek certification to provide immunizations and become “Certified Registered Pharmacy Technicians.” These pharmacy technicians will then be allowed to administer all vaccines listed by the CDC in the Adult Immunization Schedule or recommended by the CDC for international travel. Additionally, it includes vaccines authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization or by the Florida Board of Pharmacy in response to a state of emergency declared by the Governor.

This is a big step in medicine, once again broadening the ability of health professionals to provide more efficient and less expensive health care. In the past, properly qualified pharmacists were allowed to administer vaccines, but even then, there was a shortage.

Certification Requirements.

To become certified by the Florida Board of Pharmacy, a registered pharmacy technician must complete six hours of approved immunization-related training. As a renewal condition, an additional two hours of approved continuing education must be completed each cycle, according to the Board of Pharmacy website. For more information, click here.

In comparison, for certification, registered pharmacists must have 20 hours of education to administer vaccines. Registered pharmacist interns (persons with five years of college) who are also under the supervision of a certified pharmacist must take the same 20-hour immunization course that the pharmacists take to become certified to administer immunizations.

While this new Florida law seems to adopt a substantial lessening in training requirements, remember the 20-hour course allows pharmacists to administer vaccines independently. The six-hour course is for pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines under the pharmacist’s supervision. The technician certification program or programs authorized will have to be approved by the Florida Board of Pharmacy in consultation with the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

Stay Informed and Prepared.

The Board of Pharmacy has the authority to adopt rules to add new vaccines as added by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it often takes many months to do so. Pharmacies and the pharmacists, pharmacist interns, and pharmacy technicians who are responsible need to monitor these situations closely.

Pharmacies should print a copy of the CDC adult immunization schedule, the CDC’s recommended vaccines for international travel, and the FDA’s list of vaccines with emergency use authorizations and have this readily available for its staff to review. They should also update this list at least once a month. This will help the pharmacy staff keep on top if either of these federal agencies, the CDC or the FDA, changes its list of immunizations. As we’ve seen from the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping track of vaccine schedules and emergency use authorization changes can be very confusing.

Click here to read Florida HB 1209 – Administration of Vaccines, in full.

Consult With A Health Law Attorney Experienced in the Representation of Pharmacists and Pharmacies.

We routinely provide legal representation to pharmacists, pharmacies, and other health professionals who have received complaints against their licenses, notices of investigations, Medicare or Medicaid audits, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) audits, investigations, subpoenas, search warrants, and orders to show cause (OSC) or who are facing formal or informal administrative hearings.

The lawyers of The Health Law Firm are experienced in both formal and informal administrative hearings and in representing physicians, physician assistants, and other health professionals in investigations and at Board of Pharmacy hearings. Call our office now at (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Dix, Martin. “A Jump Forward For Fla. Pharmacy Technicians’ Vax Authority.” Law360. (August 19, 2022). Web.

Sexton, Christine. “Checking the pulse of Florida health care news and policy.” Florida Politics. (August 16, 2022). Web.

Dix, Martin. “Florida Legislation Authorizing Pharmacy Technicians to Administer Vaccines Contains Some Surprises.” Akerman. (July 28, 2022). 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. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm.  The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

“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 © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2024-02-10T19:00:01-05:00February 12, 2024|Categories: Nursing Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Florida Passes New Legislation That Allows Pharmacy Technicians to Administer Immunizations

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

On July 1, 2022, Florida passed HB 1209, allowing registered pharmacy technicians to administer immunizations to patients. The new law utilizes pharmacy technicians to seek certification to provide immunizations and become “Certified Registered Pharmacy Technicians.” These pharmacy technicians will then be allowed to administer all vaccines listed by the CDC in the Adult Immunization Schedule or recommended by the CDC for international travel. Additionally, it includes vaccines authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization or by the Florida Board of Pharmacy in response to a state of emergency declared by the Governor.

This is a big step in medicine, once again broadening the ability of health professionals to provide more efficient and less expensive health care. In the past, properly qualified pharmacists were allowed to administer vaccines, but even then, there was a shortage.

Certification Requirements.

To become certified by the Florida Board of Pharmacy, a registered pharmacy technician must complete six hours of approved immunization-related training. As a renewal condition, an additional two hours of approved continuing education must be completed each cycle, according to the Board of Pharmacy website. For more information, click here.

In comparison, for certification, registered pharmacists must have 20 hours of education to administer vaccines. Registered pharmacist interns (persons with five years of college) who are also under the supervision of a certified pharmacist must take the same 20-hour immunization course that the pharmacists take to become certified to administer immunizations.

While this new Florida law seems to adopt a substantial lessening in training requirements, remember the 20-hour course allows pharmacists to administer vaccines independently. The six-hour course is for pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines under the pharmacist’s supervision. The technician certification program or programs authorized will have to be approved by the Florida Board of Pharmacy in consultation with the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

Stay Informed and Prepared.

The Board of Pharmacy has the authority to adopt rules to add new vaccines as added by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it often takes many months to do so. Pharmacies and the pharmacists, pharmacist interns, and pharmacy technicians who are responsible need to monitor these situations closely.

Pharmacies should print a copy of the CDC adult immunization schedule, the CDC’s recommended vaccines for international travel, and the FDA’s list of vaccines with emergency use authorizations and have this readily available for its staff to review. They should also update this list at least once a month. This will help the pharmacy staff keep on top if either of these federal agencies, the CDC or the FDA, changes its list of immunizations. As we’ve seen from the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping track of vaccine schedules and emergency use authorization changes can be very confusing.

Click here to read Florida HB 1209 – Administration of Vaccines, in full.

Consult With A Health Law Attorney Experienced in the Representation of Pharmacists and Pharmacies.

We routinely provide legal representation to pharmacists, pharmacies, and other health professionals who have received complaints against their licenses, notices of investigations, Medicare or Medicaid audits, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) audits, investigations, subpoenas, search warrants, and orders to show cause (OSC) or who are facing formal or informal administrative hearings.

The lawyers of The Health Law Firm are experienced in both formal and informal administrative hearings and in representing physicians, physician assistants, and other health professionals in investigations and at Board of Pharmacy hearings. Call our office now at (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Dix, Martin. “A Jump Forward For Fla. Pharmacy Technicians’ Vax Authority.” Law360. (August 19, 2022). Web.

Sexton, Christine. “Checking the pulse of Florida health care news and policy.” Florida Politics. (August 16, 2022). Web.

Dix, Martin. “Florida Legislation Authorizing Pharmacy Technicians to Administer Vaccines Contains Some Surprises.” Akerman. (July 28, 2022). 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. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm.  The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in the practice of health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

“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 © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By |2024-01-20T19:01:44-05:00January 22, 2024|Categories: Health Facilities Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Florida Legislation Allows Pharmacy Technicians to Administer Immunizations

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

On July 1, 2022, Florida passed HB 1209, allowing registered pharmacy technicians to administer immunizations to patients. The new law utilizes pharmacy technicians to seek certification to provide immunizations and become “Certified Registered Pharmacy Technicians.” These pharmacy technicians will then be allowed to administer all vaccines listed by the CDC in the Adult Immunization Schedule or recommended by the CDC for international travel. Additionally, it includes vaccines authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization or by the Florida Board of Pharmacy in response to a state of emergency declared by the Governor.

This is a big step in medicine, once again broadening the ability of health professionals to provide more efficient and less expensive health care. In the past, properly qualified pharmacists were allowed to administer vaccines, but even then, there was a shortage.

Certification Requirements.

To become certified by the Florida Board of Pharmacy, a registered pharmacy technician must complete six hours of approved immunization-related training. As a renewal condition, an additional two hours of approved continuing education must be completed each cycle, according to the Board of Pharmacy website. For more information, click here.

In comparison, for certification, registered pharmacists must have 20 hours of education to administer vaccines. Registered pharmacist interns (persons with five years of college) who are also under the supervision of a certified pharmacist must take the same 20-hour immunization course that the pharmacists take to become certified to administer immunizations.

While this new Florida law seems to adopt a substantial lessening in training requirements, remember the 20-hour course allows pharmacists to administer vaccines independently. The six-hour course is for pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines under the pharmacist’s supervision. The technician certification program or programs authorized will have to be approved by the Florida Board of Pharmacy in consultation with the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

Stay Informed and Prepared.

The Board of Pharmacy has the authority to adopt rules to add new vaccines as added by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it often takes many months to do so. Pharmacies and the pharmacists, pharmacist interns, and pharmacy technicians who are responsible need to monitor these situations closely.

Pharmacies should print a copy of the CDC adult immunization schedule, the CDC’s recommended vaccines for international travel, and the FDA’s list of vaccines with emergency use authorizations and have this readily available for its staff to review. They should also update this list at least once a month. This will help the pharmacy staff keep on top if either of these federal agencies, the CDC or the FDA, changes its list of immunizations. As we’ve seen from the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping track of vaccine schedules and emergency use authorization changes can be very confusing.

Click here to read Florida HB 1209 – Administration of Vaccines, in full.

Consult With A Health Law Attorney Experienced in the Representation of Pharmacists and Pharmacies.

We routinely provide legal representation to pharmacists, pharmacies, and other health professionals who have received complaints against their licenses, notices of investigations, Medicare or Medicaid audits, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) audits, investigations, subpoenas, search warrants, and orders to show cause (OSC) or who are facing formal or informal administrative hearings.

The lawyers of The Health Law Firm are experienced in both formal and informal administrative hearings and in representing physicians, physician assistants, and other health professionals in investigations and at Board of Pharmacy hearings. Call our office now at (407) 331-6620 or toll-free at (888) 331-6620 and visit our website www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Dix, Martin. “A Jump Forward For Fla. Pharmacy Technicians’ Vax Authority.” Law360. (August 19, 2022). Web.

Sexton, Christine. “Checking the pulse of Florida health care news and policy.” Florida Politics. (August 16, 2022). Web.

Dix, Martin. “Florida Legislation Authorizing Pharmacy Technicians to Administer Vaccines Contains Some Surprises.” Akerman. (July 28, 2022). 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. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620.

“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 © 2022 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By |2023-12-21T19:01:35-05:00December 23, 2023|Categories: Pharmacy Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

How to Find a Lawyer Who Accepts HPSO Insurance to Defend Healthcare Providers

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

Healthcare professionals such as pharmacists, licensed mental health counselors, advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs), and massage therapists often struggle to find experienced lawyers in Florida who will accept their professional liability insurance after receiving complaints from the Department of Health (DOH). Specifically, in this blog, the insurance provider in question is Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) Insurance.

Advantages of Having HPSO Insurance.

The medical professionals HPSO Insurance covers can give a sigh of relief knowing they have excellent insurance coverage. HPSO Insurance provides professional liability coverage that protects them in the event of a lawsuit or negligence claim.

However, it’s not just the significant cases that HPSO covers. More often than not, healthcare professionals receive a notice of an investigation, a subpoena for a deposition in someone else’s case, a demand because of an allegation of sexual harassment or sexual impropriety, a complaint because of a breach of medical records confidentiality, or a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy complaint, or some other administrative type of action. These situations can be incredibly stressful and time-consuming, but HPSO provides excellent coverage.

For example, if the individual receives a subpoena for a deposition, HPSO currently reimburses up to $10,000 in legal fees and expenses just for representation at the deposition. This means that the professional can focus on their work and not worry about the legal costs of a deposition. Additionally, the provider receives a notice of investigation or complaint from the DOH or Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). HPSO currently reimburses up to $25,000 in legal fees and expenses for their defense. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that they have this kind of coverage can be invaluable.

Finally, suppose a health professional is facing a complaint or investigation regarding a breach of medical confidentiality. In that case, HPSO reimburses up to $25,000 in legal fees and expenses for their legal representation in defense.

Whether you’re a nurse, physician, psychologist, or other healthcare professional, knowledgeable and skilled attorneys can assist you with legal issues.

Free Legal Advice: Get Insurance Right Away.

As a healthcare professional, it is essential to understand the importance of carrying insurance that covers any investigation, complaint, or administrative hearing that may be filed or opened against your license. Many healthcare professionals mistakenly believe their employer will cover them in such situations, but this is not always true.

Suppose you are still determining whether your employer will provide legal defense for any matters arising during employment. In that case, asking for a written statement confirming this is crucial. Without such a statement, you may find yourself without any legal support in the event of a complaint or investigation.

Unfortunately, in many cases, the employer terminates an employee and then files a complaint with the Department of Health (DOH). This can result in the DOH opening an investigation against the healthcare professional, leaving them vulnerable to potential legal action. In such cases, the employer is unlikely to pay for the healthcare professional’s legal defense costs, leaving the professional in a difficult position.

If you find yourself in this situation, you may be out of work, out of money, and facing an investigation and complaint that could result in your professional license and career termination. Taking proactive steps to protect yourself and your career is essential by investing in insurance that covers legal defense costs.

HPSO Insurance is both inexpensive and reliable. By purchasing this insurance, while you can afford it, you can rest assured that you will have the legal support you need in case of a complaint or investigation.

We Recommend That You Seek the Services of an Experienced Attorney in the Event of Any Notice of an Investigation.

If you work in the healthcare industry, you must be aware of the potential legal issues that could arise. One such issue is disciplinary action or licensure investigations. If you find yourself in this situation, seeking an experienced health law attorney is crucial. Don’t speak with investigators or provide documents or statements without seeking legal advice.

It’s important to remember that investigators and other professionals involved in the investigation are not on your side. They are looking for evidence against you, so don’t take any advice from them. Instead, rely on the guidance of a skilled attorney who can protect your rights and interests.

Another important consideration is insurance coverage. If you have good insurance, it can help cover the costs of legal expenses from the outset. However, not all insurance policies cover disciplinary complaints and licensure investigations. Be sure to check your policy carefully and ensure this type of coverage is included. If not, consider purchasing a separate policy that provides this coverage. It may cost extra, but it’s worth protecting yourself in case of a legal issue. It is worth it!  Please do it!

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys Who Represent Healthcare Professionals and Providers.

Our firm specializes in providing legal representation to a wide range of healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, massage therapists, mental health counselors, registered nurses, and more. We offer a variety of services, such as representing clients before their professional board, handling DOH investigations, conducting administrative hearings, defending against malpractice claims, assisting with professional licensing matters, and addressing allegations related to HIPAA privacy violations and medical record breaches.

We also handle DEA actions and other legal matters. Our team frequently defends physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, and others against malpractice claims, civil lawsuits, administrative complaints, peer review actions, and audits by Medicare and Medicaid. If a healthcare professional has liability insurance that covers these types of claims, we will work to obtain coverage and seek reimbursement for legal fees. In some cases, we may accept an assignment of insurance policy proceeds to directly submit our bills to the insurance company.

We also defend health professionals and health facilities in general litigation matters and business litigation matters.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free at (888) 331-6620 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 Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

“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 © 2023 George F. Indest III. All rights reserved.

By |2023-09-11T13:10:31-04:00October 2, 2023|Categories: Pharmacy Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Protecting Your Pharmacist License: Locate an HPSO or Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Attorney to Defend You in a Complaint

Attorney and Author 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

All healthcare professionals, including pharmacists and pharmacies, should know the importance of good professional liability insurance. These policies protect them from the financial burden of legal expenses in case of any complaints or lawsuits filed against them. Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) Insurance and Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company (PMIC) are both popular insurance companies that offer professional liability insurance to pharmacists and their pharmacies at a low and affordable rate. However, many pharmacists may need to realize the full extent of coverage that their policy offers.

Under a policy with either insurance company, the insurer will pay the legal fees and other costs related to your defense or legal representation. However, you must seek out and retain the appropriate attorney.

Essential Things to Look For When Retaining an Attorney to Defend You.

1. The primary qualification for any attorney you hire to represent you should be their experience working with healthcare professionals in the same field, such case, pharmacies and pharmacists. Suppose the attorney is unfamiliar with the pharmacy practice, the type of legal proceeding you have, or the board of pharmacy, Division of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) or the health department.  In that case, it may be difficult for that attorney to represent you properly.

2. If you consult with an attorney who claims they will help you make a statement to the investigator or assist you in the investigation but will not agree to appear and represent you in hearings, this is the wrong attorney. You need an attorney who can represent you from start to finish.

3. Retain an attorney who accepts your insurance, whether it’s HPSO Insurance, Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company (PMIC), CPH & Associates Insurance, Philadelphia Insurance, Firemans Fund, or another national company. This will ensure that you have an attorney who will give you the lower rates the insurance company has negotiated and establish a good working relationship with your insurance company. If an attorney with our firm cannot represent you, we will try to find you an attorney who will.

4. You should also retain the services of an attorney who has appeared before your professional board or licensing authority in investigations and hearings, especially in formal administrative hearings.

5. Often, you will encounter an attorney who only wants you to accept a consent order, stipulation, or settlement agreement. Remember that these are all merely “plea bargains,” and you will be pleading “guilty” to whatever offenses are charged. This is the easy way out. Often, the easy way is not the right way. If you plead guilty, then, from that point on, you are guilty. In most cases, however, you will be innocent of the charges and need a formal administrative hearing to prove this.

6. You don’t necessarily need an attorney who resides in your city, state, or location. Your attorney can complete the majority of casework by telephone, e-mail, Zoom video, or other means. You usually have only one meeting or hearing; depending on what type of hearing it is, it could be located in various locations. Our attorneys will travel to those locations for meetings and hearings.

7. Beware of attorneys who hold themselves out in Internet advertising as health attorneys or professional licensed defense attorneys but are really some other type of attorneys. We see this a lot from medical malpractice attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, and attorneys who sue insurance companies. Be sure you get an attorney who concentrates their practice on defending those in the pharmacy specialty and board of pharmacy complaints, investigations, and formal and informal administrative hearings.

8. If you can’t find an attorney to meet your immediate needs through our firm or an Internet search, you may contact your insurance company or professional association and ask if they have a list of attorneys who can do the legal work you require.

For example, you may reach Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) at (800) 982-9491;  you can reach Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company (PMIC) at (800) 247-5930;  you can reach CPH & Associates at (800) 875-1911 or (312) 987-9823.

When negative accusations arise that could affect a pharmacist’s license or the license of a pharmacy, having insurance is essential. This coverage offers a strong defense against potential harm and covers a variety of situations, including subpoenas for record release, depositions, and violations of HIPAA or medical confidentiality.

Connect With Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Investigations of Pharmacists and Pharmacies.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to pharmacists, pharmacies, prescribing physicians, dispensing physicians and nurse practitioners, and other health providers in pharmacy board complaints and investigations, Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Colorado DORA investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, Medicare and Medicaid audits, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) investigations, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actions, and other types of investigations of pharmacies and pharmacists.

In cases in which the pharmacist or pharmacy has professional liability insurance or general liability insurance that provides coverage for such matters, we will seek to obtain coverage by your insurance company and will attempt to have your legal fees and expenses covered by your insurance company. If allowed, we will agree to take an assignment of your insurance policy proceeds to be able to submit our bills directly to your insurance company.

We also defend health professionals and health facilities in general and business litigation matters, Medicaid and Medicare complaints and hearings, and DEA Orders To Show Cause (OTSC) hearings.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 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 Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.“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 © 2023 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.
By |2023-09-11T13:40:09-04:00September 11, 2023|Categories: Health Facilities Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Finding a Lawyer Who Accepts HPSO Insurance to Defend Healthcare Providers

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

Healthcare professionals such as pharmacists, licensed mental health counselors, advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs), and massage therapists often struggle to find experienced lawyers in Florida who will accept their professional liability insurance after receiving complaints from the Department of Health (DOH). Specifically, in this blog, the insurance provider in question is Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) Insurance.

Advantages of Having HPSO Insurance.

The medical professionals HPSO Insurance covers can give a sigh of relief knowing they have excellent insurance coverage. HPSO Insurance provides professional liability coverage that protects them in the event of a lawsuit or negligence claim.

However, it’s not just the significant cases that HPSO covers. More often than not, healthcare professionals receive a notice of an investigation, a subpoena for a deposition in someone else’s case, a demand because of an allegation of sexual harassment or sexual impropriety, a complaint because of a breach of medical records confidentiality, or a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy complaint, or some other administrative type of action. These situations can be incredibly stressful and time-consuming, but HPSO provides excellent coverage.

For example, if the individual receives a subpoena for a deposition, HPSO currently reimburses up to $10,000 in legal fees and expenses just for representation at the deposition. This means that the professional can focus on their work and not worry about the legal costs of a deposition. Additionally, the provider receives a notice of investigation or complaint from the DOH or Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). HPSO currently reimburses up to $25,000 in legal fees and expenses for their defense. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that they have this kind of coverage can be invaluable.

Finally, suppose a health professional is facing a complaint or investigation regarding a breach of medical confidentiality. In that case, HPSO reimburses up to $25,000 in legal fees and expenses for their legal representation in defense.

Whether you’re a nurse, physician, psychologist, or other healthcare professional, knowledgeable and skilled attorneys can assist you with legal issues.

Free Legal Advice: Get Insurance Right Away.

As a healthcare professional, it is essential to understand the importance of carrying insurance that covers any investigation, complaint, or administrative hearing that may be filed or opened against your license. Many healthcare professionals mistakenly believe their employer will cover them in such situations, but this is not always true.

Suppose you are still determining whether your employer will provide legal defense for any matters arising during employment. In that case, asking for a written statement confirming this is crucial. Without such a statement, you may find yourself without any legal support in the event of a complaint or investigation.

Unfortunately, in many cases, the employer terminates an employee and then files a complaint with the Department of Health (DOH). This can result in the DOH opening an investigation against the healthcare professional, leaving them vulnerable to potential legal action. In such cases, the employer is unlikely to pay for the healthcare professional’s legal defense costs, leaving the professional in a difficult position.

If you find yourself in this situation, you may be out of work, out of money, and facing an investigation and complaint that could result in your professional license and career termination. Taking proactive steps to protect yourself and your career is essential by investing in insurance that covers legal defense costs.

HPSO Insurance is both inexpensive and reliable. By purchasing this insurance, while you can afford it, you can rest assured that you will have the legal support you need in case of a complaint or investigation.

We Recommend That You Seek the Services of an Experienced Attorney in the Event of Any Notice of an Investigation.

If you work in the healthcare industry, you must be aware of the potential legal issues that could arise. One such issue is disciplinary action or licensure investigations. If you find yourself in this situation, seeking an experienced health law attorney is crucial. Don’t speak with investigators or provide documents or statements without seeking legal advice.

It’s important to remember that investigators and other professionals involved in the investigation are not on your side. They are looking for evidence against you, so don’t take any advice from them. Instead, rely on the guidance of a skilled attorney who can protect your rights and interests.

Another important consideration is insurance coverage. If you have good insurance, it can help cover the costs of legal expenses from the outset. However, not all insurance policies cover disciplinary complaints and licensure investigations. Be sure to check your policy carefully and ensure this type of coverage is included. If not, consider purchasing a separate policy that provides this coverage. It may cost extra, but it’s worth protecting yourself in case of a legal issue. It is worth it!  Please do it!

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys Who Represent Healthcare Professionals and Providers.

Our firm specializes in providing legal representation to a wide range of healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, massage therapists, mental health counselors, registered nurses, and more. We offer a variety of services, such as representing clients before their professional board, handling DOH investigations, conducting administrative hearings, defending against malpractice claims, assisting with professional licensing matters, and addressing allegations related to HIPAA privacy violations and medical record breaches.

We also handle DEA actions and other legal matters. Our team frequently defends physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, and others against malpractice claims, civil lawsuits, administrative complaints, peer review actions, and audits by Medicare and Medicaid. If a healthcare professional has liability insurance that covers these types of claims, we will work to obtain coverage and seek reimbursement for legal fees. In some cases, we may accept an assignment of insurance policy proceeds to directly submit our bills to the insurance company.

We also defend health professionals and health facilities in general litigation matters and business litigation matters.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free at (888) 331-6620 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 Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

“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 © 2023 George F. Indest III. All rights reserved.

By |2023-09-11T13:01:19-04:00September 11, 2023|Categories: Mental Health Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Locating an HPSO or Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Attorney to Defend You in a Complaint Against Your Pharmacist License

Attorney and Author 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

All healthcare professionals, including pharmacists and pharmacies, should know the importance of good professional liability insurance. These policies protect them from the financial burden of legal expenses in case of any complaints or lawsuits filed against them. Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) Insurance and Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company (PMIC) are both popular insurance companies that offers professional liability insurance to pharmacists and their pharmacies at a low and affordable rate. However, many pharmacists may need to realize the full extent of coverage that their policy offers.

Under a policy with either insurance company, the insurer company will pay the legal fees and other costs related to your defense or legal representation. However, you must seek out and retain the appropriate attorney to represent you.

Essential Things to Look For When Retaining an Attorney to Defend You.

1.The primary qualification for any attorney you hire to represent you should be their experience working with healthcare professionals in the same field, in this case pharmacies and pharmacists. Suppose the attorney is unfamiliar with the practice of pharmacy, the type of legal proceeding you have, or the board of pharmacy, Division of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) or the health department.  In that case, it may be difficult for that attorney to represent you properly.

2.If you consult with an attorney who claims they will help you make a statement to the investigator or assist you in the investigation but will not agree to appear and represent you in hearings, this is the wrong attorney. You need an attorney who can represent you from start to finish.

3.Seek and retain an attorney who accepts the insurance that you have, whether it’s HPSO Insurance, Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company (PMIC), CPH & Associates Insurance, Philadelphia Insurance, Firemans Fund, or another national company. This will ensure that you have an attorney who will give you the lower rates the insurance company has negotiated and will establish a good working relationship with your insurance company. If an attorney with our firm cannot represent you, we will try to find you an attorney who will.

4.You should also retain the services of an attorney who has appeared before your professional board or professional licensing authority in investigations and hearings, especially in formal administrative hearings.

5.Often, you will encounter an attorney who only wants you to accept a consent order, stipulation, or settlement agreement. Remember that these are all merely “plea bargains,” and you will be pleading “guilty” to whatever offenses are charged. This is the easy way out. Often, the easy way is not the right way. If you plead guilty, then, from that point on, you are guilty. In most cases, however, you will be innocent of the charges and need a formal administrative hearing to prove this.

6.You don’t necessarily need an attorney who resides in your city, state, or location. Your attorney can complete the majority of casework by telephone, e-mail, Zoom video or other means. You usually have only one meeting or hearing; depending on what type of hearing it is, it could be located in various locations. Our attorneys will travel to those locations for meetings and hearings.

7.Beware of attorneys who hold themselves out in Internet advertising as health attorneys or professional licensed defense attorneys but are really some other type of attorneys. We see this a lot from medical malpractice attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, and attorneys who sue insurance companies. Be sure you get an attorney who concentrates their practice on defending those in the pharmacy specialty and board of pharmacy complaints, investigations, and formal and informal administrative hearings.

8.If you can’t find an attorney to meet your immediate needs through our firm or an Internet search, you may contact your insurance company or professional association and ask if they have a list of attorneys who can do the legal work you require.

For example, you may reach Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) at (800) 982-9491;  you can reach Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company (PMIC) at (800) 247-5930;  you can reach CPH & Associates at (800) 875-1911 or (312) 987-9823.
When negative accusations arise that could affect a pharmacist’s license or the license of a pharmacy, having insurance is essential. This coverage offers a strong defense against potential harm and covers a variety of situations, including subpoenas for record release, depositions, and violations of HIPAA or medical confidentiality.

Connect With Health Law Attorneys Who Are Experienced in Investigations of Pharmacists and Pharmacies.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm provide legal representation to pharmacists, pharmacies, prescribing physicians, dispensing physicians and nurse practitioners, and other health providers in pharmacy board complaints and investigations, Department of Health (DOH) investigations, Colorado DORA investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigations, Medicare and Medicaid audits, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) investigations, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actions, and other types of investigations of pharmacies and pharmacists.

In cases in which the pharmacist or pharmacy has professional liability insurance or general liability insurance that provides coverage for such matters, we will seek to obtain coverage by your insurance company and will attempt to have your legal fees and expenses covered by your insurance company. If allowed, we will agree to take an assignment of your insurance policy proceeds in order to be able to submit our bills directly to your insurance company.

We also defend health professionals and health facilities in general litigation matters and business litigation matters, Medicaid and Medicare complaints and hearings, and DEA Orders To Show Cause (OTSC) and hearings.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620 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 Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

“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 © 2023 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.
By |2023-08-23T13:00:30-04:00August 23, 2023|Categories: Pharmacy Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Finding a Lawyer Who Accepts HPSO Insurance to Defend Healthcare Providers

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

Healthcare professionals such as pharmacists, licensed mental health counselors, advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs), and massage therapists often struggle to find experienced lawyers in Florida who will accept their professional liability insurance after receiving complaints from the Department of Health (DOH). Specifically, in this blog, the insurance provider in question is Healthcare Providers Service Organization (HPSO) Insurance.

Advantages of Having HPSO Insurance.

The medical professionals HPSO Insurance covers can give a sigh of relief knowing they have excellent insurance coverage. HPSO Insurance provides professional liability coverage that protects them in the event of a lawsuit or negligence claim.

However, it’s not just the significant cases that HPSO covers. More often than not, healthcare professionals receive a notice of an investigation, a subpoena for a deposition in someone else’s case, a demand because of an allegation of sexual harassment or sexual impropriety, a complaint because of a breach of medical records confidentiality, or a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy complaint, or some other administrative type of action. These situations can be incredibly stressful and time-consuming, but HPSO provides excellent coverage.

For example, if the individual receives a subpoena for a deposition, HPSO currently reimburses up to $10,000 in legal fees and expenses just for representation at the deposition. This means that the professional can focus on their work and not worry about the legal costs of a deposition. Additionally, the provider receives a notice of investigation or complaint from the DOH or Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). HPSO currently reimburses up to $25,000 in legal fees and expenses for their defense. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that they have this kind of coverage can be invaluable.

Finally, suppose a health professional is facing a complaint or investigation regarding a breach of medical confidentiality. In that case, HPSO reimburses up to $25,000 in legal fees and expenses for their legal representation in defense.

Whether you’re a nurse, physician, psychologist, or other healthcare professional, knowledgeable and skilled attorneys can assist you with legal issues.

Free Legal Advice: Get Insurance Right Away.

As a healthcare professional, it is essential to understand the importance of carrying insurance that covers any investigation, complaint, or administrative hearing that may be filed or opened against your license. Many healthcare professionals mistakenly believe their employer will cover them in such situations, but this is not always true.

Suppose you are still determining whether your employer will provide legal defense for any matters arising during employment. In that case, asking for a written statement confirming this is crucial. Without such a statement, you may find yourself without any legal support in the event of a complaint or investigation.

Unfortunately, in many cases, the employer terminates an employee and then files a complaint with the Department of Health (DOH). This can result in the DOH opening an investigation against the healthcare professional, leaving them vulnerable to potential legal action. In such cases, the employer is unlikely to pay for the healthcare professional’s legal defense costs, leaving the professional in a difficult position.

If you find yourself in this situation, you may be out of work, out of money, and facing an investigation and complaint that could result in your professional license and career termination. Taking proactive steps to protect yourself and your career is essential by investing in insurance that covers legal defense costs.

HPSO Insurance is both inexpensive and reliable. By purchasing this insurance, while you can afford it, you can rest assured that you will have the legal support you need in case of a complaint or investigation.

We Recommend That You Seek the Services of an Experienced Attorney in the Event of Any Notice of an Investigation.

If you work in the healthcare industry, you must be aware of the potential legal issues that could arise. One such issue is disciplinary action or licensure investigations. If you find yourself in this situation, seeking an experienced health law attorney is crucial. Don’t speak with investigators or provide documents or statements without seeking legal advice.

It’s important to remember that investigators and other professionals involved in the investigation are not on your side. They are looking for evidence against you, so don’t take any advice from them. Instead, rely on the guidance of a skilled attorney who can protect your rights and interests.

Another important consideration is insurance coverage. If you have good insurance, it can help cover the costs of legal expenses from the outset. However, not all insurance policies cover disciplinary complaints and licensure investigations. Be sure to check your policy carefully and ensure this type of coverage is included. If not, consider purchasing a separate policy that provides this coverage. It may cost extra, but it’s worth protecting yourself in case of a legal issue. It is worth it!  Please do it!

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys Who Represent Healthcare Professionals and Providers.

Our firm specializes in providing legal representation to a wide range of healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, massage therapists, mental health counselors, registered nurses, and more. We offer a variety of services, such as representing clients before their professional board, handling DOH investigations, conducting administrative hearings, defending against malpractice claims, assisting with professional licensing matters, and addressing allegations related to HIPAA privacy violations and medical record breaches.

We also handle DEA actions and other legal matters. Our team frequently defends physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, and others against malpractice claims, civil lawsuits, administrative complaints, peer review actions, and audits by Medicare and Medicaid. If a healthcare professional has liability insurance that covers these types of claims, we will work to obtain coverage and seek reimbursement for legal fees. In some cases, we may accept an assignment of insurance policy proceeds to directly submit our bills to the insurance company.

We also defend health professionals and health facilities in general litigation matters and business litigation matters.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free at (888) 331-6620 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 Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Attorney Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm is always looking for qualified attorneys interested in health law practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a member of The Florida Bar and are interested, forward a cover letter and your resume to: [email protected] or fax to: (407) 331-3030.

“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 © 2023 George F. Indest III. All rights reserved.

By |2023-08-23T12:50:47-04:00August 23, 2023|Categories: Mental Health Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Feds Charge Three People For Multi-Million Dollar Scheme to Defraud Medicare, HIPAA Violations

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

In October 2020, Massachusetts federal prosecutors charged three people for their alleged roles in a multi-million dollar plot to defraud Medicare. Two individuals allegedly collected patient data and sold it to the purported mastermind, who used it to submit $109 million in false claims.

The two individuals who allegedly obtained the patient information were both located in Florida, wouldn’t ya know. They were each charged with one count of receiving more than $1.6 million kickbacks in connection with a federal health care program. Prosecutors charged the third individual with criminal violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Fraudulently Collecting & Using Private Patient Information.

According to court documents, both individuals in Florida owned marketing companies that enlisted foreign call centers to contact Medicare beneficiaries. Using a prepared script, they allegedly asked the patients they called if they would be interested in receiving durable medical equipment (DME) such as knee braces or compression sleeves “at little to no cost.”

The call centers would then collect information, including the patient’s name, address, insurance number, Medicare number, and doctor’s name and address, prosecutors said. The information was then sold to the third individual, who filed fraudulent Medicare claims for DME that were never prescribed and not medically necessary.

According to court records, the alleged co-conspirators used the same patients’ information repeatedly through a different shell company each time. More than 1,000 of the claims were made under the names of deceased beneficiaries. Click here to view the criminal information in this case.

Read the DOJ’s press release on this case for additional information.

Also, you can read one of my prior blogs on a similar case in Florida.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late; Consult with a Health Law Attorney Experienced in Medicare Issues Now.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers and other health care providers in Medicare audits, ZPIC audits, MAC audits, and RAC audits throughout Florida and across the U.S. They also health care providers in qui tam or False Claims Act (whistleblower) litigation and in other complex medical litigation. They also represent DME suppliers, physicians, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers and institutions in Medicare and Medicaid investigations, audits, recovery actions, and termination from the Medicare or Medicaid programs, They represent health care providers in formal and informal administrative hearings, federal or state.

For more information please visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com or call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620.

Sources:

Sinay, Reenat. “Feds Charge 3 In Alleged $109M Medicare Fraud Scheme.” Law360. (October 2, 2020). Web.

Szaniszlo, Marie. “Three charged in multi-million dollar fraud scheme.” Sentinel Enterprise. (October 2, 2020). 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 Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

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 © 2021 The Health Law

By |2021-02-24T10:55:49-05:00May 19, 2021|Categories: Nursing Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Colorado Board of Pharmacy Must Hand Over Patient Identifying Data to DEA Says Judge

George Indest HeadshotBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On April 22, 2020, a federal judge ordered the Colorado Board of Pharmacy to give the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) prescription drug monitoring program data on two pharmacies that the DEA is investigating. The data includes patient identifying information of more than 14,000 patients. The state must turn over the data by May 15, 2020, according to the order.

Pharmacy Investigations.

Citing concerns about the two pharmacies’ handling of controlled-substance prescriptions, the DEA issued subpoenas under the Controlled Substances Act in 2019. The DEA requested the information as part of an investigation into whether the two unnamed pharmacies broke the law in dispensing opioids and other drugs.

Clash Over Patient Privacy.

The DEA’s requested information is kept under the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program or PDMP. For controlled-substance prescriptions, Colorado pharmacies and pharmacists are required by state law to report information that includes the names of patients, their doctors, and pharmacies.

Colorado state officials refused to release the data citing patient privacy concerns. The DEA’s “overly broad, undifferentiated demand for access would violate the Fourth Amendment right to privacy guaranteed to more than 14,000 patients whose medical data is at issue,” the state said.

According to the order, the Colorado statute allows the prescription-monitoring data to be disclosed but only to specific recipients including in response to law enforcement subpoenas. However, the state argued that the Colorado statute only applies to a “bona fide investigation of a specific individual.”

To read about a similar case involving a DEA investigation into pharmacy prescription practices, click here to read my prior blog.

The Decision.

U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore denied Colorado’s objections to the DEA’s subpoenas for the prescription data including patients’ information such as names, birth dates, and addresses. The judge said the DEA has shown that the requested information is relevant and needed for the ongoing investigation of the two pharmacies, and no warrant is needed to obtain it. The order directs the Colorado Board of Pharmacy and Patty Salazar, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) to provide the data to the DEA no later than May 15, 2020.

To read the court’s order in full, click here.

For more information, click here to read the press release issued from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.

States Must Act to Protect the Integrity of Such Programs.

State prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) were sold to pharmacists and physicians based on a promise that they were solely for the purpose of protecting patients from overdoses and preventing “doctor shopping” by dishonest, drug-seeking patients. Inherent in these programs was the promise that they would not be used for the purpose of prosecuting or charging physicians or pharmacists, in criminal proceedings or administrative proceedings, based on their contents. Most of the state laws that authorized the creation of PDMPs specifically forbid their use in such cases. This was required in order to get physicians and state medical societies to buy off on them.

Yet here we are. We see this over and over. the Federal government and federal agencies obtaining copies of these reports from the state and using them as direct evidence against physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and pharmacies, despite the prohibition of the state statutes.

Moreover, not only does this subvert the purpose behind creating such databases, but then it runs afoul of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and similar provisions of most state constitutions. The doctor or pharmacist is required by law to report the prescriptions to the PDMP, but then the federal agency turns right around and uses it as evidence against the individual who reported it.

The feds take the position: “We do not care why you, the state, authorized it or what its purpose was supposed to be. If we want to take that information and use it for something else, something that was specifically prohibited by the state, then we will do it.”

Until state pharmacy associations and medical associations do something to tighten up the state legislation that created the PDMPs, this situation is not likely to change. The feds will continue to use the state PDMPs to prosecute and to take administrative actions to revoke the DEA registrations of physicians, pharmacists, pharmacies, and other health professionals.

Consult With A Health Law Attorney Experienced in the Representation of Pharmacists and Pharmacies.

We routinely provide legal representation to pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians and other health providers. We defend in state and federal administrative hearings, investigations, and litigation. We represent health professionals in formal and informal administrative hearings. We have a great deal of experience in defending against DEA actions.

The lawyers of The Health Law Firm are experienced in both formal and informal administrative hearings and in representing physicians, physician assistants and other health professionals in investigations and at Board of Pharmacy hearings. Call now or visit our website www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Sources:

Zegers, Kelly. “Colo. Must Give DEA Pharmacy Data With Patient Info.” Law360. (April 20, 2020). Web.

Ingold, John. “Why the DEA is suing Colorado’s pharmacy board as part of an opioid investigation.” The Colorado Sun. (November 11, 2019). Web.

Pazanowski, Mary Ann. “Colorado Pharmacy Board Must Give DEA Patient-Identifying Info.” Bloomberg Law. (April 22, 2020). 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 Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

“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 © 2021 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

By |2021-02-17T16:04:11-05:00May 4, 2021|Categories: Health Facilities Law Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments
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