Tag Archives: Healthcare

PODCAST: Healthcare IT and revenue cycle management solutions and safeguards

craig evansToday’s interview with healthcare consultant, Craig Evans, focuses on healthcare information technology and revenue cycle management. In the patient billing and payment systems there are opportunities to increase efficiency and return on investment which can also benefit healthcare providers with regulatory compliance and reducing the risk of errant and fraudulent medical billing through the implantation of proper healthcare practice management software.

Please use this link to listen to the podcast

Topics covered in this 30-minute interview:       

  • What are the challenges and opportunities in the healthcare revenue cycle?
  • What can healthcare practices do about patient high deductible insurance plans?
  • How can healthcare providers reduce their claim rejection rates?
  • What kinds of data should practice managers be analyzing to best manage the revenue cycle?

Craig Evans helps healthcare practices streamline and maximize billing operations, select electronic medical records systems and start new ventures. With 30 years’ experience, his independent and hospital-based providers benefit from a broad-based yet detailed understanding of workflow and reimbursement challenges. Craig Evans works with Ebix, Incorporated as a Regional Business Development Executive.

To connect with Craig Evans please call the Illinois Professional Licensing Associates by dialing (773) 631-4850.

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Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to advise and represent healthcare professionals and the general Chicagoland community with a variety of legal issues. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburbs, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion.

For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please call (773) 631-4580, visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You may also connect with Attorney Michael V. Favia on LinkedIn and on Avvo.com where you may also read client endorsements and reviews.

 

PODCAST: Appealing adverse final rulings in healthcare discipline, discharge and termination

Today’s podcast interview with attorney Michael Cohen, focuses on his work with attorney Michael Favia in defending healthcare professionals and appealing adverse decisions from any state agency final ruling affecting involving discipline, discharge and terminations. There are many compelling reasons to file an appeal of a ruling affecting your healthcare career. Attorneys Cohen and Favia work as a team to fight for the professional being disciplined or terminated. USE THIS LINK TO LISTEN ANYTIME

Topics covered in this 30-minute interview:

  • Common elements in reportable healthcare discipline, discharge and termination cases;
  • Describing usual procedural processes leading to an appealable final ruling and decision;
  • The measurable impact of healthcare discipline or termination on a local and national level;
  • What to expect in appealing an adverse discipline, discharge or termination ruling.

Michael B. Cohen is a partner in the Chicago office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. Mr. Cohen represents clients in a wide variety of civil and criminal litigation matters, both state and federal at the trial and appellate levels, focused on complex commercial litigation. His litigation practice includes the areas of appellate law, bankruptcy, civil rights, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, estates and trusts, insurance coverage, medical malpractice defense, personal injury actions, privacy, professional liability, and real estate.

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Michael V. Favia & Associates are available to advise and represent health care professionals and the general Chicagoland community with a variety of legal issues. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburbs, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion.

For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please call (773) 631-4580, visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You may also connect with Attorney Michael V. Favia on LinkedIn and on Avvo.com where you may also read client endorsements and reviews.

Important documents in health care planning

 

As the baby boomer generation retires and focuses on senior health care and planning for the end of life there are unique opportunities for families to make the right preparations to ensure smooth transitions and reduce the struggling of families trying to make the right decision. Our health care law practice includes drafting wills, living trusts, power of attorney documents and living wills. We are helping our clients prepare for health care challenges during senior years as well as preparing for end of life transitions. When we work together as families when everyone is mentally and physically healthy, we can support one another in major life events without unnecessary anguish. Having all the right health care and estate planning documents prepared make it easier for everyone.

A recent study for the website Caring.com “found only 53 percent of adults reporting having a healthcare power of attorney and only 42 percent reported having a will or living trust.[i]”  

Why is it people wait until someone is sick to prepare a health care power of attorney or will? Why do we otherwise wait until we are planning and overseas trip to prepare these important documents? Most incidents involving injury or death are more likely to occur within a few miles of home. People are learning that health care and estate planning documentation is for everyone, not only the rich.

““Families go through a trauma in decision-making in and of itself,” explained Christine Gorka, director of the Clinical Ethics Center at Memorial Medical Center. “We don’t want (families) to feel like they’ve made the wrong decisions, and they often struggle.[ii]

Wills

If you die without a will in Illinois, the laws of intestate succession determine what happens to the assets in your estate. Your assets and property will go to your wife, children and available heirs in statutorily-determined percentages. This can be difficult for families when there have been remarriages or other blended situations. What happens to your minor children and dependents, if any, is also controlled by a will and final testament. Despite the focus on this article being a senior population, everyone should have a will and should consider the additional documents named in this article, regardless of age.   

Living Trusts

A living trust, also called a “revocable” trust, is a legal document authorizing your assets to be placed in a trust, with named beneficiaries, such as yourself, during your lifetime. After the end of your life, your assets will be directed to your “successor trustees” who would otherwise be the named beneficiaries in your will. There are many options. Some people use a will to determine what happens to certain items like family heirlooms and the remainder of the assets are managed through the living trust.

Power of Attorney for Health Care

A power of attorney document allows you to appoint another person, your agent, to make health care decisions for you if you are unavailable. An example of being unavailable includes a coma or a temporary period of unconsciousness such as during a surgery. If there are complications or decisions that need to be made, the individual with a health care power of attorney can make legally binding health care decisions on your behalf. There are also power of attorney documents that give an individual broader legal authority to conduct basic business, transact banking and pay the bills for an individual who is unavailable or lacks capacity.

Living Wills

A living will is similar to a power of attorney for health care and is used in appointing another individual to make decisions about proper health care and specifically the termination of care under certain conditions. Where lifesaving resuscitation may be required to keep a patient alive, the individual named in the living will have the authority to determine whether to use emergency procedures. This also applies to the decision to terminate medical treatment.

Planning for smooth living in your senior years requires attention to detail when preparing health care and estate planning documents. To learn more about elder and health law planning, please call Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. to make an appointment by dialing (773) 631-4580.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

[i] WANDTV.com, Report: Many adults lack important documents, Feb. 16, 2017, by Joe Strouski.

[ii] See HNi above.

Facing challenges in documenting medical care

Every healthcare professional knows that, at some point in their medical practice, they may be called on to defend patient care. When time passes and our ability to accurately recall information is diminished we should be able to rely on documentation of events to answer questions. There are practices you can adopt that can make it easier to make a good habit of properly documenting everything that happens before, during and after patient care.

Documenting everything is not the only key component to keeping proper records. Your medical record entries must be adequate representations of what happened. Imagine a jury reviewing records in a medical malpractice case, assume they do not spend much of their time reading medical records. How might they react to inadequate records? What may be obvious to you may not be to them. When others are charged with judging your credibility, the quality of your medical records can either enhance or diminish your credibility.

Examples of detrimental documentation practices, as identified in the recently article published by The Doctors Company, The Faintest Ink.[i]

  • Gaps and delays in documentation
  • Illegible entries
  • Dictation with blanks
  • Unflattering or judgmental patient descriptions
  • Entries appearing to vent negative feelings
  • Altered records and records missing documents or entries

To ensure proper documentation, each time and every time, the best practice is to develop a system for entering and recording information. Almost like a checklist, you can determine the rules and procedures for managing information. Identify details regarding when, where, how, what and why information is recorded. While it may seem like extra work, at some point your medical records could be under review and read in isolation of other information. Therefore, every single time it is helpful to identify why an entry is being recorded.

Features and benefits of good documentation habits

Increased communication with patients and increased continuity of care should increase understanding, decrease misunderstanding. In many medical malpractice cases, the root of the problem leading to a complaint can often be identified as failure in the communication process.

One way to improve communication is to use dictation equipment to make your patient notes. When you dictate notes right in front of patients you are more likely to read the details into the notes so that the patient can understand everything. If, on the other hand, you are making dictation and sound cryptic or unclear, a patient could become nervous and worried about not having a clear understanding of their doctor visit.

When making entries, beware of the easy mistakes that you can make when using forms and templates. A simple mistake in recording information on a form can cause problems. If there is an error in checking boxes on one form, could there be more errors on other forms? Making independent notes every time you record patient information better insures accuracy and credibility of information.

It is a good idea to audit and review medical records to ensure that documentation procedures are consistently used. In the audit process, a reviewer may detect entries that may require a second look. If there is an error or missing information, it is always best to make a new record and attach it as an addendum to the original. Do not change or alter records when there is active or pending litigation.

For more tips on documenting patient medical records or if you have questions about exposure and liability in the event of a patient complaint or claim for malpractice, please be in touch with Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

[i] Source for article summary: The Doctors Company, The Faintest Ink, By Carol Murray, RHIA, CPHRM, Patient Safety/Risk Manager II.

Relaxed restrictions: Health care licenses and criminal convictions

On January 1, 2017, new laws on the books in Illinois took effect. Among the new laws passed was a bill to protect applicants for professional licenses who may also have a record of a criminal offense and conviction. Prior to the new law, applicants for health care licenses[i] were barred from applying for a professional health care license if they had been convicted of criminal offenses.

In fact, a 2011 law, now rescinded, had automatically and permanently revoked or denied licenses to certain health care professionals with certain past felony convictions. Imagine working in a health care career for years and being stripped of your license to work and earn a living. Those affected by the 2011 law may now move forward in applying for the reissue of their health care license.

Those previously stripped of licenses may seek relief:

New health care license applicants who may have been precluded from receiving a license prior to January 1 may now request the issuance of a health care license by the State of Illinois. The Illinois Department of Financial Regulation (IDFPR), who issues and regulates health care licenses and professionals, may no longer deny a request for a professional license solely on an applicant’s criminal record unless the conviction is directly related to the occupation for which the individual seeks a license.

“The new measure is part of ongoing efforts by Governor Rauner and legislators to remove unnecessary barriers to the professional licensure while ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of the public.[ii]

New opportunities for independent review:

Under the law, if an individual applies for a license to work in regulated health care position, and they have a criminal conviction, the individual may qualify for special review under the new law. The Petition for Review, timely filed, can be used to affirmatively establish that the individual has been rehabilitated from their conviction.

There are several factors to be considered by the IDFPR in reviewing Petitions for Review, such as the seriousness of the underlying criminal conviction, any prior disciplinary history associated with the applicant, and notably, the individual’s voluntary remedial actions. Remedial actions can help establish an individual accepting responsibility for an error, and when coupled with rehabilitation, the decreased chances of future errant actions.

Child support obligations:

The new rule also gives the IDFPR more discretion in disciplining a license holder who falls behind in child support obligation. While it may be true that some child support obligors knowingly fail to pay child support, others may fall behind unintentionally. When the health care worker is denied their license to earn a living, and they want to be current on their support obligation, taking their income away can further complicate the problem.

If you believe the new law applies to your health care career and opportunity to hold the proper license, whether you were previously denied, suspended or revoked, you should know that every situation is fact-specific and what applies to some may not apply to others. Call Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. for a comprehensive review of your professional licensing matter to learn if the new law may change your health care career outlook.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

 

[i] Note: Health care workers include doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and more.

[ii] IDFPR Press Release Dated 12/29/2016, A Pathway to Licensure: Changes to Law for Health Care Workers with Criminal Convictions.

Preventing medical malpractice claims with smart strategies

Physicians and their patients all make their best efforts to exchange information to ensure great patient care. At points in the healthcare process, there can be mistakes leading to dissatisfied patients. In many cases, miscommunication and errors can be corrected with little harm done. In other instances, malpractice complaints are filed. Everyone involved in the patient care process would prefer to avoid a negative incident or malpractice complaint. Being diligent in assuring good patient care involves adopting strategies in reducing risks of medical mistake.

In a recent article published in Medical Economics, several doctors and healthcare professionals shared their perspectives on improving patient care, communication and documentation, ideally reducing malpractice lawsuits.[i]

The following is a summary of 5 strategies to reduce malpractice lawsuit threats:

Proper documentation means documenting everything

“Every doctor is taught that if you didn’t put it in the chart, you didn’t do it.[ii]” In error in noting a patient’s chart begs the question of how to correct the typo or wrong word choices. The best practice is to make a separate notation which you identify and incorporate by reference in the original notation. Changing or deleting an error can lead to trouble.

Noting everything in the patient’s chart should also include any communication with patients and family members. Ask them to explain the information back to you to make sure they understand. Make a note in the chart describing exactly how the communication took place. If you note everything with the sense that any other physician could step into patient care without missing a beat, you are engaging in a positive habit that should help avoid medical mistakes and malpractice claims.

Transparency with patients and facilitating access to charts and notes

Does your physician share access to notes and charts? Would you know how to read and interpret those notes if they were made available to you as a patient? Transparency in healthcare services allows patients and their physicians to all understand the reason and course of care. A patient may elect to seek another medical opinion and if they do, the more information you share with them as the primary physician, the better you may be protected from later claims of medical mistake or malpractice. It may take longer to create notes that others can understand, but the benefit in transparency and documentation makes this a best practice.

Expressing empathy when sharing information with patients

When a physician discovers a medical error, they may face tough decisions in communicating errors with patients and their families. While the natural inclination may to apologize and express remorse for a medical mistake, too many physicians are worried about an admission of error which could lead to a malpractice claim. While contrition may be, appropriate and appease concerned patients and families in many instances, there may be times your apology is insufficient to resolve dissatisfaction.

Illinois is one of many states with “sorry laws” protecting physicians from exposure in malpractice cases for expressing apologies and remorse to patients and families. The form of an apology should be sincere and honest. You can effectively express empathy without saying too much that may confuse or give the patient and family the wrong idea. Apologies when due, can be an appropriate best practice. Notwithstanding, being aware of hospital administration and policies that may affect your patient communications is important.

Managing the risks associated with electronic health records

The intended purpose of electronic health records (EHRs) is to solve information and documentation concerns. The portability and access to EHRs should help prevent medical mistakes and malpractice claims. Nevertheless, there are EHR pitfalls to avoid, such as using auto-populating fields in the forms and copying and pasting. Drop down menu errors can also be a problem and cause the wrong information to be populated in the EHRs, which can lead to medical mistakes and malpractice. Imagine another physician relies on wrong information in a patient’s EHRs and misses a drug allergy or gives a patient wrong dose of medications.

Maintaining positive relationships with patients and their family

Reducing uncertainty and increasing understanding is good for physician-patient communication and care. When family members are involved, it is a good practice to let them know what is happening in the care process and what issues may arise and affect the patient’s health. Showing the patient and their family attention and explanation of what is happen and what is anticipated in patient care may give the patient and family solace in knowing their concerns are important and well-attended. Being realistic and transparent is always a best practice to increase understanding and prevent medical mistakes and malpractice claims.

Adding these strategies to your practice

Since so much documentation is required in healthcare, it should be reasonably simple to include these proactive patient care strategies to any healthcare practice. Adding reminders to engage in these tasks is helpful in adopting them as positive habits in practice. Health law, litigation and licensing attorney, Michael V. Favia works with patients, physicians and healthcare organizations to identify and manage risks and to prevent and resolve conflicts when they arise. An audit of a physicians practice can lead to solutions in preventing malpractice.

About us: Michael V. Favia & Associates, P.C. is a health law and litigation firm in Chicago representing individuals, healthcare professionals and organizations with civil legal matters as well as professional licensing and regulation.

Chicago health law and litigation attorney Michael V. Favia and his associates in several locations and disciplines, advise and represent private individuals as well as healthcare professionals in all types of litigation and administrative matters involving licensing and regulatory agencies.

Michael V. Favia and Associates, P.C. represents individual physicians and health care organizations in the Chicago area with a variety of legal matters. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. Michael V. Favia & Associates is available at (773) 631-4580. Please visit www.favialawfirm.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter. You can also review endorsements and recommendations for Michael V. Favia on his Avvo.com profile and on LinkedIn.

 

[i] Medical Economics, 5 strategies to reduce malpractice lawsuit threats, By Liz Seegert, Nov. 10, 2016.

[ii] See HNi above.

MICHAEL V. FAVIA INVITED TO JOIN THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION LEADERSHIP NETWORK

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MICHAEL V. FAVIA INVITED TO JOIN THE ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION LEADERSHIP NETWORK

Health And Injury Law And Litigation Attorney, Michael V. Favia Joins the Leadership Network of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Health Philanthropy Organization

CHICAGO – Health law and litigation attorney, Michael V. Favia, was recently invited and joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Leadership Network of nationally prominent leaders in the health and philanthropy fields. Favia’s law practice and experience is strong in healthcare law and litigation. With a background in policy, prosecution and defense, Favia is well-connected in the Chicago legal community and he works hard to share important news and information from organizations such as the RWJF.

"Our goal is clear: To help our society transform itself for the better.”

“Our goal is clear: To help our society transform itself for the better.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the largest U.S. philanthropy devoted solely to improving health in the United States. They are committed to building a culture of health enabling all Americans to live healthy lives now and for generations to come.

“The mission of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is to improve the health and health care of all Americans. Our goal is clear: To help our society transform itself for the better.” (RWJF website) For more than 40 years RWJF has managed private funds used in the public interest. Evidence, ideas and expertise are the key components that RWJF uses to promote its mission and achieve results. Favia will serve the organization’s Leadership Network as a health law legal professional, participating in dialogue and sharing information about topics related to improving the health and health care of all Americans.

RWJF works to increase awareness and share resources related to health care professionals and technology. A typical article the RWJF shares with the public, for example, reads: “CDC researchers calculate: If all Americans had equal access to the best preventative care, roughly 20 to 40 percent of premature deaths from the five leading causes of death could be avoided.” See the RWJF Facebook page for more information about the foundation and what it shares.

Favia has more than 25 years of experience in health law and litigation and works in conjunction with a team of litigators, experts and investigators to advise and represent clients. He is experienced working on both sides of professional licensing matters, the prosecution and defense. He is a former Assistant Illinois Attorney General and Chief Prosecutor for the Illinois Dept. of Professional Regulation (“IDPR”), now known as the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (“IDFPR”).

Favia also owns a professional licensing consulting company where he and affiliated former prosecutors, investigators and professional licensing board members assist licensed professionals in their business, regulatory and IDFPR related matters.

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If you would like more information about Michael V. Favia & Associates, or to schedule an interview of Michael V. Favia, please contact the firm by calling (773) 631-4580 or send an email to favia@lawyer.com.