Protecting Your Pharmacist License: Locate an HPSO or Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Attorney to Defend You in a Complaint
By 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.
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.
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: KBrant@TheHealthLawFirm.com 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.