Academy of Chiropractic’s
Lawyers PI Program
From the Desk of:
Mark Studin DC, FASBE (C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
"Money Making Partnerships That Can Cost You More Than You Can Make"
I would like to say that I have seen it all in my 31 years in practice/business, but that would be untrue because as Mae West said, "There is a sucker for every occasion." I have seen too many partnership programs from having electrodiagnostics in your office, to marketing for other doctors, to rental agreements to providing services for other doctors, to allowing medical specialists to use your space to...on and on...They all generate MONEY and that is something everyone wants and many NEED to survive.Unfortunately, many of these partnerships are illegal and you do not learn that until after you have cashed the check. That means you take the money and are guilty, dirty, etc., and the person that writes you the check will own you for the rest of your life...because you cash the check that goes back to them with your endorsement on it. That is called proof.
The surest sign of an illegal or improper program is when someone tells you, "My lawyer has created the paperwork to ensure it is compliant. Therefore, we have incurred the legal expenses, so you do not have to." In almost every instance, the lawyer has created paperwork to ensure it is compliant with the other company looking to give you a little money so they can make a lot or give you a lot of money so they can make a little "on your back" as they have in the agreement "YOUR indemnifying them." They may have a "hold harmless agreement" built in to the language of the agreement that ensures that you hold them harmless for anything in the relationship. Guess what? If the contract created by the lawyer is illegal in your state, then you are left with the full liability because YOU held them harmless and assumed the risk.
Caveat Emptor: Latin for Buyer Beware
In my terms, you are a sucker because you wanted money and didn't read or understand the fine print or legal language of the agreement. Most agreements at this level are written by lawyers with the intent on drafting language that is legally convoluted so that you do not understand the full intent and actions of the words, yet you sign it because you want the money.
Here are NON-NERGOTIABLE RULES:
1. Never enter into an agreement without a written contract because if it is not in writing, it does not exist.
2. Always have YOUR healthcare lawyer review the agreement before you sign it.
3. Always save the bills from your healthcare lawyer as that is your proof that you hired an officer of the court to ensure the legality.
The overwhelming reasons to hire your own lawyer are two-fold. First, he/she is your lawyer and puts your interests first. Secondly, if you didn't use your lawyer and you entered into an improper agreement, it could be construed as a felony with the intent of circumventing the law. If you did use your own lawyer and the lawyer is wrong, it is a civil offense, punishable by a fine vs. jail and you get to hold your lawyer responsible for his/her opinion with the ability to sue the lawyer, thereby making you whole financially.
At the end of the day, you want no adverse legal issues from the start and in the medical industry, there are more schemes than ever before. I get calls multiple times weekly with the latest "get rich quick schemes" or even "make enough to survive schemes" and most of them are not compliant in your state. Buyer beware as the only way to enter into any agreement is AFTER your healthcare lawyer has signed off on it.