Healthcare law concerns who can receive healthcare, and who should pay for it. It’s a complicated area of law , given the cost of healthcare. In fact, Americans spent $3.65 trillion on healthcare in 2018 alone. This is one of the largest and most tightly-regulated industries within the United States. A sector this big — which is closely linked to health and the survival of humans — has many complexities. And where there are regulations and complicated issues, there are lawyers.
The reason Healthcare Law Is Expanding
Healthcare law is a rapidly growing field due to the amount of legal work to be performed within the healthcare industry. In the beginning, the regulatory maze that regulates all areas of health care is nearly impossible for those who are not lawyers to navigate. Additionally, in recent years, state and federal governments have been cracking down on fraud and abuse in the healthcare sector in order to recover millions of dollars in losses, so keeping up with these rules is more crucial than ever before.
Antitrust laws are being enforced more rigorously and healthcare associations are often accused of illicit practices, like cooperating to fix salaries for nurses as well as other medical employees.
Other issues like bioethics, privacy, kickbacks and licensing are also legal issues that keep lawyers working in the field of healthcare extremely active.
The cost of healthcare continues to climb, while it is evident that the U.S. population continues to age which suggests that the healthcare industry won’t be slowing down any time soon.
What Do Healthcare Lawyers Do?
While some areas of law are slowing or shrinking, healthcare law is growing to become more vital. What exactly do healthcare lawyers do?
Healthcare lawyers represent a diverse variety of healthcare professionals and entities like nursing homes, hospital chains clinics home medical centers, pharmacies, clinical labs, physician groups, health insurers, physicians, nurses, and medical personnel.
The work that healthcare lawyers perform frequently touches on a range of specializations in the law, including but not only corporate, securities, regulatory administration, contracts, commercial, tax legal, litigation, professional negligence and bioethics. Healthcare law is best suited for lawyer who represents patients and their families the law of healthcare and don’t shy away from complexity.
A large portion of healthcare lawyers spend a lot of their time being up-to current with the latest laws and regulations because it is an essential element of healthcare business dealings. For instance, when it comes to selling of a business in the healthcare sector there are specific and complex issues that be addressed, including regulatory approval of the licence transfer, Medicare, Medicaid, and other third-party payer liabilities, malpractice issues such as tax and ERISA issues, and much more.
Fraud and Abuse
A lot of healthcare lawyers dedicate their efforts to helping healthcare providers avoid allegations of healthcare malpractice or fraud. Many healthcare providers depend upon Medicare and Medicaid payment to earn a substantial portion of their revenues. In actuality, nearly every healthcare transaction has potential for abuse or fraud that are often overlooked by non-lawyers who don’t have a thorough understanding of specific federal laws like the anti-kickback law Stark anti-referral legislation, and that of the federal False Claims Act.
Healthcare lawyers also collaborate together with medical providers as well as patients in order to make sure that patients’ rights are protected. That includes the rights to informed consent which requires that doctors educate you about your medical choices prior to making an informed decision, as well as a patients’ right to privacy with regard to their medical documents. Healthcare law also regulates the procedures doctors are permitted to perform or not do. Some of the most controversial procedures are assisted suicide and abortion.
What Other Tasks Does A Attorney for Healthcare Work?
Patient rights Healthcare lawyers are able to ensure that individuals have given, and medical institutions receive, permission to conduct medical treatment and medical research.
Legal counsel in healthcare can protect patients who have a reasonable expectation privacy, which often involves an understanding of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
Tax issues: Because many American hospitals are not-for-profit and tax-exempt, there are particular tax concerns which lawyers can assist individuals and organizations understand.
What Healthcare Lawyers Do Not Do
In our look at the kind of work healthcare lawyers do it is possible that you noticed the fact that medical mistakes were not mentioned. Many people would like to place medical negligence — individuals who sue medical companies or doctors after being injured or killed due to medical negligent actions — into the realm of healthcare law, however it’s not the case. Medical malpractice is a component of the law governing personal injuries, and most healthcare lawyers do not get involved with such claims.
However, healthcare lawyers could be involved if the medical malpractice case triggers an issue in the regulatory system and the medical firm or medical professional is at risk of losing their license.
Another myth about healthcare law is that it’s related to the governing of pharmaceuticals also known as medical devices. Intellectual property attorneys are most likely to get involved with the subject matter, however healthcare lawyers might be involved in helping obtain approval from Medicare, Medicaid, or health insurance providers and HMOs after a drug or medical device is approved through authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Some healthcare professionals help families prepare for long-term elderly care and care for the elderly, though this help is more likely to be provided by attorneys who call themselves elder law attorneys or estate planning lawyers. As people get for longer periods, their medical care typically gets more and more expensive. Also, older patients tend to lose the physical or mental ability to provide for themselves. Families can plan ahead by putting aside funds for medical expenses, drafting a living will and deciding on the type of long-term care to choose prior to the time that the need arises.
In addition, healthcare lawyers do not get involved in helping individuals qualify for disability benefits via Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability Insurance. A disability lawyer assists in these cases.
One of the best ways to draw the distinction between what healthcare lawyers are and aren’t doing is to recognize that healthcare lawyers generally represent medical providers, not patients. There are, however, healthcare lawyers who can assist patients with specific issues, such as medical charges, discrimination or insurance policies.
How do you become a Healthcare Lawyer?
If you’re thinking healthcare law sounds like an interesting and rewarding area of law to pursue the first step is to become an lawyer. You don’t need to be a specialist in healthcare law at law school to be able to work in this field. Everyone graduate with an J.D., and you are able to choose which legal area you would like to pursue during your time in law school or even after you graduate. It can be advantageous to study the healthcare law course in law school if your institution provides these courses. It is also possible to find an internship or a clerkship at a firm that handles healthcare law.
After your law schooling, you’ll need to pass the bar in the state that you would like to practice in prior to being able to be an healthcare lawyer. According to salary.com the median wage for healthcare lawyer in the United States as of 2020 is $92,808.
In what situations would you need assistance from this type of lawyer?
In general, you will not require assistance from a health lawyer unless you’re an medical professional, employed by a healthcare institution or run a medical-related business. If you fall under one of the above categories, a health lawyer is able to help you:
-You need help to comply with issues like your Anti-Kickback Statute, the Stark Law, or the False Claims Act
You may have contracts or policies that have to be put into effect or re-examined
You are under investigation by a government agency, or your license is at risk
Some healthcare lawyers can also assist patients who suffer from health insurance issues, payment issues, or that have been discriminated against in obtaining health care.
Arrange a consult with a health lawyer in your area if you need legal guidance.