Health care is a highly regulated industry. It is crucial that all medical practices are in full compliance with applicable federal and state regulations. Any violation could lead to significant problems—potentially even financial sanctions.
Lynnette Ariathurai is an experienced business lawyer for medical practitioners. Attorney Ariathurai helps all types of medical practice with regulatory issues. To set up a confidential consultation with an experienced business attorney, please contact our Fremont law office today.
An Overview of Federal and State Regulations for Medical Practices in California
Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act
California has specific rules and regulations in place regarding the formation and ownership of medical practices. Medical practices must be structured as professional corporations (PCs) under the Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act. If you have any specific questions about forming or structuring a medical practice in California, an experienced business attorney for doctors, nurses, and medical personnel can help.
There are federal and state laws in place prohibiting “kickbacks” for medical referrals. The federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and the California Anti-Kickback Statute largely prohibit the offer of anything of value in exchange for a referral for a patient who participates in a federal or state health program.
Also known as the physician self-referral law, the Stark Law is a federal statute that bars physicians from referring patients that receive service paid by Medicare, Medicaid, or another federal health program to an entity with which the physician or their family member has a financial relationship. There are some limited exceptions to the law.
Regulations against Billing Fraud
Both California and the federal government have strict rules and regulations in place for billing fraud. Notably, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) can bring civil charges for health billing fraud even if the conduct is deemed to be accidental. Medical practices need to understand billing regulations, including the California state prohibition on “surprise medical bills.”
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires medical practices to strictly protect the confidentiality of sensitive patient information. It is imperative that all medical practices operating in California have a well-developed system in place for protecting the privacy of patient records.
Sharing Office Space
It is not uncommon for medical practices—especially smaller medical practices—to share office space. Such an arrangement can be advantageous for all parties involved. Though, in doing so, medical practices must ensure that their conduct is consistent with their lease. A violation of the lease for improper share could lead to problems. Medical practices also need to ensure that patient records are protected as required by HIPAA. In 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released draft guidelines on medical practice share space arrangement. A key principle is that each medical practice should keep its business clearly separate and that proper disclosures should be made to patients.
Get Help from a California Business Lawyer for Medical Practices
Lynnette Ariathurai is a Bay Area business law attorney committed to providing forward-looking legal advice and cost-effective solutions for medical practices in Fremont CA, near Newark, or Hayward, East Bay, Milpitas, Union City, San Leandro, Gilroy, San Jose, or Santa Clara. If you have any questions about regulatory compliance for medical practices, please contact our Fremont office for a strictly confidential consultation.