“Why me? Because I am an idiot!” Mark Studin 2017
I was cruising along nicely, steady referrals, steady cash flow and no stress… then 1 day I opened an envelope and HOLY CRAP…I am being sued or investigated or someone comes in my office and “flashes a badge.” At that moment, my life was just turned “upside down” and all I say is why me?
Why you? Virtually 100% of the time is because you didn’t create your critical infrastructure. That critical component, inclusive of poor documentation [were you smart enough to have a compliance review that costs you $0.00?] is ALAWAYS due to a poor LEGALLY DEFENSIBLE PRACTICE.
There are 6 critical infrastructure components that will protect you from first, yourself, your staff, carriers and then your patients. These are all vulnerable areas of private practice if not properly set up.
- Staff Office Policy: Most state’s Department of Labor mandate that you have 1 standard for every staff member and NEED this document. This document will protect you from your staff and allow you to fire them and not be concerned about getting sued for discrimination. It also creates definitive guidelines for staff that outlines your entire relationship. It is a 43-page document crafted by one of the nation’s leading labor lawyers. [cost $300]
- Severance Agreement: This document ensures you will not have any issues regarding wrongful termination lawsuits against you after you fire someone. All fortune 500 companies use this mechanism to protect their businesses [cost $300]
- Professional Staff Employment Agreement: This sets the boundaries for employment and prevents them from stealing your practice. [cost $400]
- HIPAA Manual: Not just a form, but an entire manual that is Federally MANDATED. Many offices are getting fined significant fees for not having a manual and entire program. It is a Federal Violation for not having a complete manual and implemented system. [cost $199]
- Corporate Check-Up: If… you are anything more than a solo practitioner, you need a HEALTH CARE LAWYER admitted to the Bar in your state to do a corporate checkup and review all contracts, including sub-leasing contracts. DO NOT HAVE THE LAWYER FROM A COMPANY SUBLEASING OR ANY OTHER ENTITY REPRESENTING ANYONE BUT YOU, otherwise you will be likely left with the liability in the end. Should it be wrong and most of those agreements are fraught with improprieties (which is why they give you their lawyer to protect THEM and they pay for it) you can be totally liable, and you need your OWN lawyer to protect you. Yes, it costs money… so what, it is the cost of doing business compliantly. [cost $200-$500 per hour locally]
- Compliance/Documentation Audit: This will show you where your problems are in your documentation and give you an opportunity to fix them BEFORE an investigation, audit or indictment. Your documentation is your ONLY “get out of jail free pass” and that is not inflammatory. 60% of compliance audits I perform aren’t just deficient, the doctors are committing fraud that can generate a RICO racketeering action against a doctor and I have already been involved in too many trying to help protect the doctor from losing everything inclusive of their freedom. These are things you will never hear about because no doctor going through this wants to share this with anyone! [cost $0.00]
IF… you have read the above and said, “that is good information,” and then choose to not act if you haven’t done ALL the above previously, then you are an idiot! (I know I can be insulting, but I will do whatever it takes to protect you from YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
IF… you have read the above and said, “that is good information,” and then choose to not act because it costs a few dollars, then you are an idiot! And will potentially cost you 40X to defend yourself…AND I CAN’T FIX STUPID!!! (that’s why I paid, $50,000 in legal fees to defend myself as I didn’t have these documents during my stupid years)
(Again, the insulting thing…)
Here’s the thing; I might be the only person you will ever meet who will tell you the whole truth about my mistakes and what it cost me. As you read the balance of the consultations, you will learn I have paid quite a high price to learn my lessons and I don’t want you to live in my footsteps, you must be better and have less stress than I experienced. It’s not worth it.
Back to being professional… #1-6 will give you a strong basis for having a legally defensible infrastructure that will allow you to sleep well at night for the balance of your career that will far “outlast” our relationship. I have been in the profession for almost 40 years and I have seen too many good people lose everything because of their arrogance with too many others saying or believing “it won’t happen to me.” It will, and no matter how much of a “healer you are” those coming after you do not care. Insurance carriers, licensure boards and State Labor Departments have an entire sect of their industry, whose full-time job is to investigate fraud or legal shortcomings and it is aimed at US and that is anything but inflammatory.
If you need any of the above 6 items, email me at Drmark@AcademyOfChiropractic.com
or call me (631-786-4253) and I will hit the “easy button” for you and have #1-4 sent to you, help you find #5 and schedule #6. A compliance review is part of your membership and will cost you $0.00, but everything else will cost you $$, however the cost is minimal, and should you be accused of fraud or discrimination in a labor complaint, the opening cost of a good health care or criminal lawyer is $400 - $500 per hour and fraud and discrimination are not covered under your malpractice policy.
EVERY successful company ALWAYS ensures that legal is handled BEFORE opening for business. Doctors rarely do and is part of the reason that carriers have abused us financially for decades because we have given them leverage over us because we are good at helping people get well, but SUCK in business. If a carrier chooses not to pay you and you want to fight back, you can’t if you have legal exposure with an improper infrastructure.
There is a reason why MY doctors collect a lot more than the rest in the industry… This is a large part the foundation for success… TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW!
Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
Adjunct Associate Professor of Chiropractic, University of Bridgeport, College of Chiropractic
Adjunct Professor, Division of Clinical Sciences, Texas Chiropractic College
Educational Presenter, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education Joint Partnership with the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Academy of Chiropractic
US Chiropractic Directory