Legal Assistance for Setting Up a Medical Practice
The idea of starting your own medical practice is exciting, but you may experience some trepidation as you consider the legal and regulatory side of operations.
Getting a company off on the right foot is important in any industry, and establishing a strong foundation for a Florida medical practice is especially critical to long-term success. The same is true when you are merging your practice with an existing health care provider or developing a joint venture with another organization.
Medical Practice Setup Services
You will put forth considerable effort and investment to establish your business, so your primary concern when starting a new medical practice should be protecting your interests. Our business formation lawyers offer support to help you with the typical obstacles and snags, from ensuring that your organization is properly structured to guiding you through licensing, insurance, and regulatory matters. Our goal is to clear the path so that you can focus on welcoming patients and achieving your business objectives. We provide assistance with all aspects of starting a medical practice, including:
- Professional practice formation; including, entity type; PA, PLLC, operating agreements, bylaws, partnership and joint venture agreements.
- Documenting internal business agreements; including, founder and shareholder agreements, buy-sell agreements etc.
- State licensing, insurance credentialing, and DEA registration
- Regulatory, Stark law and anti-kickback issues
- Negotiating and drafting general staff employment agreements
- Negotiating and drafting medical employment contracts; including physician employment agreements
- Non-compete and confidentiality agreements
- Regulatory compliance: ACA, HIPPA, Medicare and Medicaid
- Negotiate and review commercial lease agreements and purchase contracts for clinics and medical office space
- Negotiate and review medical equipment leases
- Liability, Workers Compensation and other insurance matters
- Medical Practice purchase, sale, merger and joint ventures.
- Concierge medical practice
- Outside general counsel services
Business Formation for Healthcare Practices
For medical practices, just like other businesses, choice of entity serves as the foundation for how liability and tax matters will affect the practice throughout its life cycle; as-well-as how it is managed. Unlike other businesses, healthcare practices have another layer of considerations to make. Most healthcare practitioners are considered professional service providers and are required to be licensed in their profession. When incorporating or organizing a professional practice you may be impacted by provisions in F.S. Chapter 621.
There are multiple pros and cons for various business entities under Florida law, and careful assessment of every detail is critical.
- A Limited liability partnership (LLP)
- Limited liability company (LLC)
- C or S corporation
- Professional corporation (PA)
- Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC)
From choice of entity there are also considerations related to how to manage your medical practice and deal with business succession. Our attorneys can advise you on operating agreements, bylaws, buy-sell and shareholder agreements, joint venture arrangements, and other structural elements that will protect your interests and those of your business.
Legal Considerations When Opening a Medical Practice
As mentioned above, business formation is a key consideration when starting a medical practice, but your choice of entity is more than just putting “PC,” or “PLLC” at the end of your company name. It is important to consider how to insulate your personal interests and protect your business from such legal liability issues as:
- Improper billing practices
- Violations of fraud and abuse laws
- Stark laws and anti-kickback regulations
- Contract disputes and business litigation
- Employment law issues, including claims regarding discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, etc.
- Real estate transactions
- Mergers & acquisitions, and joint ventures
- Debts and financing
- Tax implications; and
- Many other legal considerations
Managing the typical liabilities and navigating the legal issues involved with starting a new medical practice can become quite complicated. With the help of our skilled lawyers, you can prevent some types of upheaval, protect against the unexpected, and reduce the impact on your business.
At Walsh Banks Law, we have extensive experience advising clients in the health care industry. We are at your side to help you understand your legal obligations and reduce your risk. Our business lawyers have comprehensive knowledge in business formation, licensing, management, employment matters, real estate law, and many other legal aspects of starting a medical practice in Florida. We have served many clients in the Orlando, FL area and throughout Central Florida.
Steps to Setting Up a Medical Practice
While every health care practice is unique, there are certain tasks and steps to starting things off on the right foot. They include:
File the proper paperwork: There are various requirements at the federal, state, and local level to being legally able to operate your business. For instance, you must obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the IRS, file your business formation documents with the Florida Department of State, and work with county officials for your business tax receipt.
Obtain the proper licensing: As mentioned, you must comply with licensing structures for yourself personally and your business.
Obtain insurance credentialing: At the outset, you should determine what types of public and private health insurance your practice should accept. Taking Medicare and Medicaid patients has both pros and cons, while private insurers may have certain eligibility rules before you can submit claims.
Register with the DEA: You must register with the federal DEA if you will be prescribing medication through your medical practice.
Depending on whether you are in a specialty practice or provide certain types of medical services, there may be additional requirements in setting up a medical practice.
Why it is Important to Have an Attorney
The process of setting up a medical practice is quite unlike forming any other type of business. Strict regulations, business entity types, the potential for fraud, liability matters, and related issues mandate that you establish a solid foundation to streamline smooth operations. The more time, effort, and resources you invest at the outset, the better chances you have of avoiding significant problems later on.
A lawyer can provide guidance and support to carry through all of these issues and more. You can count on your attorney to provide sound advice, as well as assistance with:
Human Resources & Employment Agreements: You must address employment issues when you hire physicians and general staff to support your medical practice. Negotiating, drafting, and executing the necessary paperwork is a crucial task for starting your business. Provisions related to non-competition and confidentiality are important to protecting your legitimate business interests, such as the patient base you have worked so hard to develop.
Compliance, Licensing, and Regulatory: As a medical practice, you must understand your legal obligations under a wide range of federal, state, and local regulations. The ACA, HIPPA, Medicare, Medicaid, and other statutes combine to create a complicated landscape of laws. Stark laws are another concern, as anti-kickback and physician self-referral situations can arise in situations you do not expect. Plus, you need to tackle DEA registration and state licensing issues.
Non-compliance with such a dense regulatory scheme could lead to serious penalties, putting your interests at risk. Violations could also put your personal medical license in jeopardy, so it is imperative to work with experienced lawyers when starting up and operating a medical practice.
Contracts and Lease Agreements: Many stakeholders in medical practices choose to lease equipment. With the costs of owning a building, and for such medical equipment as PET/CT scanners, MRI machines, and robotics, leasing agreements are the preferred approach over financing or purchasing. A high-stakes lease means negotiating terms, reviewing the contract, and carefully scrutinizing supporting documentation.
Managed care contracts (HMO, PPO, IPA and PHO) should be carefully reviewed so that you fully understand the risks of participating. In some instances your attorney can help negotiate those agreements.
Leasing office and clinic space has its own set of pit falls as well. Some landlords are unscrupulous and will try to work in lease provisions that would put an undue burden on your new practice and even your personal finances. It is always prudent to have an office or clinic lease reviewed before you sign it.
When you are focused on providing top patient care and running your medical practice, it can be difficult to pay meticulous attention to the details of these contracts. Our attorneys will take the burden off your shoulders to ensure you and your practice are fully protected.
Insurance-Related Matters: Insurance issues will come up in almost any business, but the health care industry arguably faces the most challenges. Medical malpractice insurance is the most obvious matter, but you must also address liability insurance for claims that are completely unrelated to the practice of medicine. Insurance for premises liability, workers’ compensation, and other coverage may be factors, and credentialing for insurance purposes is an important consideration.
Healthcare Privacy: There are a variety of healthcare privacy laws that medical practices must adhere to on a routine basis. Having sound policies and practices in place at the beginning of the practice is critical to avoid penalties and lawsuits.
Litigation & Dispute Resolution: Business litigation is not usually an issue for a new medical practice. But, there’s always the potential for a lawsuit due to unforeseen issues; for-instance, a non-compete or trade secret matter arises. Or, it is conceivable that an issue could arise with an equipment supplier that cannot fulfill their commitment or contractor not completing office renovations on time. Both of which are potential breach of contract scenarios.
Why Hire Walsh Banks Law
The attorneys at Walsh Banks Law have decades of combined experience representing business owners in all industries. We deliver knowledgeable legal services and custom-tailored solutions specifically crafted to support your needs and objectives when starting up a health care company.
Our lawyers take pride in the fact that not only do we prioritize the needs of our Orlando and Central Florida clients, but we continue to cultivate strong business relationships long after a company’s initial startup.
We are well-equipped to tackle the unique challenges you face when launching a medical practice, including the transactional issues, formation matters, regulatory compliance, and more. Though we aim to avoid legal disputes and litigation, our attorneys are also prepared to represent you in court when necessary to protect your interests. Our comprehensive suite of legal services ensures you have the legal support and counsel you need at any time, just as if you had an in-house legal department.