Paul Welk

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OIG Posts Advisory Opinion on Free Transportation Program

On October 21, 2015 the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General posted Advisory Opinion No. 15-13.  This Opinion relates to a request for Advisory Opinion about a plan to offer free van shuttle services to certain medical facilities in an integrated health system.  The Office of Inspector General (the “OIG”) concluded … Continue Reading

Hospital Network Reports Large HIPAA Breach

  Community Health Systems announced today, August 18th, that hackers broke into its computers and stole data on 4.5 million patients.  The information included names, Social Security numbers, physical addresses, birthdays and telephone numbers.  More information on the breach is available at  … Continue Reading

Physical Therapy Provider Enters into HIPAA Settlement

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently announced yet another enforcement action.  Specifically, OCR opened a compliance review of Concentra Health Services (Concentra) upon receiving a report that an unencrypted laptop was stolen from the Springfield Missouri Physical Therapy Center.  The investigation revealed that Concentra had previously recognized in … Continue Reading

The Paper Chase – New Family And Medical Leave Notice Requirements

The Department of Labor recently issued new amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).   Those amendments have added  to the notice requirements under the act, creating both a paperwork chore for businesses and a potential legal trap if  the required notices are not provided.  This Alert summarizes the new notice requirements.   General Notice  The General Notice must be posted … Continue Reading

Highmark Medicare Services Teleconference On Billing Of Time Units For Physical And Occupational Therapy Services

Highmark Medicare Services will be hosting a teleconference on May 15, 2009 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern to discuss the billing of time units for physical and occupational therapy services. The teleconference may reference issues such as CMS Online Manual, Pub. 100-2, Chapter 15, Sections 220 and 230; Change Request CR6321; Frequently Asked Questions; Social Security … Continue Reading

Utilizing Employment Contracts To Protect A Practice’s Investment In Its Employees

Physical therapy practices invest significant time, money and effort in employee development. Given the significance of the investment in its employees, the practice should consider how to protect this investment. In many jurisdictions this can be accomplished through an employment agreement containing a restrictive covenant, often referred to as a "non-compete". To learn more about … Continue Reading

Considerations For Designing A Retirement Plan

In the physical therapy market place, private practitioners and others are continuously analyzing the practice’s finances in an effort to maintain and increase overall compensation. One area that tends to be overlooked in this analysis is the potentially significant benefit available through a properly drafted and qualified retirement plan program. To read more about the … Continue Reading

Bringing On New Staff? Remember The Independent Contractor Versus Employee Analysis

When a physical therapy private practice "hires" a physical therapist to provide professional services, questions often rise as to whether the individual is an independent contractor or an employee. It is important that the individual be properly classified for a number of reasons, including potential liability imposed by the Internal Revenue Service in the event … Continue Reading

The Role Of Physical Therapist As Expert

When most people hear the term "expert" in the medical legal context, they think of a well educated professional on a courtroom witness stand trying to persuade a jury in a certain direction. While this scenario is one role that the expert physical therapist may play, physical therapists may also serve in an expert capacity … Continue Reading

The Employee Manual – An Essential Practice Tool

As physical therapy private practice or any other business entity begins to grow, the need for a tool to handle personnel decisions on a regular basis and assist with the legal compliance requirements increases. This tool frequently takes the form of a written employee manual. When drafting an employee manual, there are a number of … Continue Reading

The Red Flag Rules: New Requirements May Affect Private Practice Collection Policies

The Federal Trade Commission issue the Red Flag Rules on November 9, 2007. The effective date of the Red Flag Rules is August 1, 2009. Under the Red Flag Rules, a "creditor" that offers or maintains "covered accounts" must develop and implement and identity theft protection program to detect, prevent and mitigate identity theft. To … Continue Reading

Not All Employment-Related Bonuses Are Created Equal

Employment-Related Bonus Programs go by many different names. Employers may choose to refer to their particular program as a sign-on, referral, retention, incentive, tuition repayment, loan forgiveness, or other type of bonus. Regardless of the name, it is important for both employers and employees to understand the terms of a particular bonus program and to … Continue Reading

Changes To HIPAA Requirements Included Within The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009 (The “Stimulus Bill”)

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly referred to as the "Stimulus Bill", contains multiple provisions which affect the rights and obligations of certain parties under  the privacy and security provisions of HIPAA. These changes relate to the application of the security and privacy provisions to business associates; the notification requirements in the event … Continue Reading