Not everyone appreciates the important contributions of hospital defense attorneys. Here are a few examples of the many cases where their help could be critical for a medical facility.
But What Exactly Is A Retainer?
Whether your legal problems are professional or personal, some of us need legal advice more often than others. For those of us who have relatively frequent contact with lawyers, it is possible to establish a contract between you and a lawyer, allowing him or her to represent you or answer your legal questions at any time. This contract is known as a retainer agreement. Generally, it takes the form of a deposit or retainer paid by a particular lawyer or law firm for future legal services. Basically, there are two general types of retainer agreements that clients can enter into with a lawyer.
When a facility grows and takes on a large staff, it’s likely that employment issues will arise. Everyone deserves a fair chance at a job, regardless of his or her race, religion, or orientation. Still, some employees will feel that their termination or missed promotion was due to one of these factors. Without hospital defense attorneys on staff, it may not seem worthwhile to confront these allegations directly. With appropriate legal help, it is often possible to resolve these cases favorably and minimize the final expense, even if settlements are necessary.
Resolving Compliance Issues
Litigation is often necessary for compliance related issues in regards to medical care regulations. It is important to comply with all standards that can affect patient care, but still, some conflicts are inevitable in a large enough institution. New staff needs to be trained periodically, and experienced professionals can make mistakes.
Whistleblowers and Fraud
Whistleblowers are an important means of keeping institutions accountable and supplementing the work of inspectors, and yet false claims can be an expensive hassle for large institutions. In an era when the American healthcare system remains under constant scrutiny, it can be difficult for government agencies to dedicate their resources to investigating actual offenders. Rather than remaining at the mercy of disgruntled employees, it is important to take an active stance when it comes to defending against false accusations and fraudulent reports.
Medicare and Medicaid Law
Depending on the demographics served, a significant portion of revenue may come from Medicare and Medicaid payments. Elderly patients with good insurance coverage may still rely on Medicare to cover part of their payments. It can be challenging to keep up with the latest paperwork and expectations of these major government programs. Having a legal team on retainer can be a lifeline when it comes to complicated paperwork. With the nature of state-sponsored medical coverage changing on state and federal levels, guessing about which procedures might be covered will expose a hospital to major financial risks.
When patients and insurance companies both make payments, sometimes there is a miscommunication or miscalculation resulting in an overpayment to the healthcare provider. It is illegal for the healthcare provider to keep the surplus, and yet identifying and reimbursing overpayments can be a tedious challenge for a busy facility. When secondary payers and other entities are also contributing payments, it can further increase the difficulty. A hospital looking to protect its reputation in the community might be slow to collect significant debts from uninsured patients, but a relatively minor overpayment discrepancy can result in major legal fees and complications.
Hospital defense attorneys are just one part of the network of support staff necessary to maintain a large healthcare facility. Make sure that your facility is keeping its bases covered by keeping a legal team on retainer.
Maybe the most obvious benefit of establishing a retainer agreement with a lawyer is the immediate availability of legal advice. If you frequently deal with legal issues, a retainer agreement allows you to stay in close contact with your lawyer if issues requiring immediate attention arise.