If you are a medical professional involved in the ownership of a practice, or are considering establishing a medical practice or health care clinic in Texas, there are unique medical practice contracts that are important parts for operating a successful medical practice. Your contracts must not only be accurate and fair - they must comply with complex health care regulations.
At Kerr, Hendershot & Cannon, P.C., we provide you with the comprehensive contract services that you need when establishing and operating a medical practice. Through thorough preparation and years of experience, we effectively handle all parts of the negotiation, drafting, review and litigation processes, all while allowing you focus on what you do best - practicing medicine and providing medical services.
To learn more, schedule a free initial consultation. Call 866-398-1856 or contact us online.
Full Service Representation for Physicians and Medical Practices
With more than 25 years of experience in health care law matters, we are a well-known resource in this field. Physicians, physician's groups, medical businesses and even other attorneys have entrusted their most vital, sensitive contract issues to us. You can feel comfortable knowing that when a contract matter is in our hands, it is backed by the combined knowledge of all the attorneys at our firm, our tireless work ethic and commitment to legal excellence.
We draft and implement:
- Medical director agreements
- Management services agreements
- Physician employment agreements
- Relocation agreements
- Call coverage agreements
- Organization documents such as shareholder agreements
- Compliance plans
- Human resources documents such as personnel manuals
- Employment agreements
- Management Agreements
- Space and equipment leases and purchases
- Many other types of agreements
Because we are a full-service firm for your health law business needs, we provide a wide range of services, including regulatory compliance, fraud and abuse investigations and risk assessment. We will help you structure your organization to reduce liability, ensure sufficient insurance coverage, handle credentialing matters, and more.
Medical Director Agreements
Serving as a medical director gives physicians the opportunity to increase their earnings and use their managerial skills to advance an organization's goals, but these agreements must be carefully structured to reduce the risk of investigations by the Office of Inspector General or Attorney General. Due to the misuse of these agreements, they are subject to increased scrutiny.
To pass muster, the services agreed to under a medical director agreement must be:
- Properly documented
- Compensated at fair market value
In addition to these three elements, the OIG also examines the intent behind the agreement. Does an agreement help establish protocols and systems for verifying quality of care or patient satisfaction? Is it to ensure staff members are properly trained and supervised? Or have medical agreements been given to the top referring doctors at a facility with little value to show?
We know the elements the government examines to determine whether a medical agreement is valid, and we know how to draft a medical agreement that complies with Stark Law, Federal Anti-Kickback statute, Texas Anti-Kickback Statute, and other applicable fraud and abuse laws. We will ensure that your organization is educated on how to properly implement the agreement to avoid sanctions if you are subject to an investigation.
We have experience with medical director's agreements at hospitals, emergency rooms, ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), diagnostic labs, freestanding emergency centers (FECs) independent diagnostic testing facilities, pharmacies and other facilities.
Management Services Agreements
In order to allow physicians to focus on practicing medicine, many physician groups and other medical entities are turning to management services companies to handle various aspects of their business. These companies are responsible for a wide range of managerial functions, including:
- Meeting the non-medical staffing needs of a practice
- Handling all accounting/bookkeeping/collection functions
- Providing medical equipment such as MRI and X-ray equipment
- Acquiring and leasing space
- Implementation of a compliance program
Clear contracts are necessary to spell out the obligations and scope of the work the management company will perform. It is also necessary to structure these agreements and the method of payment for services very carefully; the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Inspector General have issued advisory opinions related to the dangers of such agreements running afoul of the Anti-Kickback statute and other federal regulations based on the way that payments are structured. An example of such a situation involves paying the management company a percentage of the practice's earnings based on the management company's marketing efforts.
Our in-depth understanding of health care regulations and contract law allows us to confidently provide our clients with thorough contracts that will keep their practices in compliance with all pertinent regulations.
Physician Employment Agreements
Your practice will be best served if all licensed doctors and medical professionals serving your patients are under an employment contract that clearly specifies the parameters of their services and the scope of their employment.
We create medical agreements that:
- Ensure that non-compete agreements are properly structured.
- Ensure mutual indemnity when necessary. Employers often want employees to indemnify them against wrongful acts - but physicians may also need indemnity against wrongful acts of the employer, particularly if the employer is handling billing and collections. Our job is to ensure you are appropriately protected from liability.
- Provide for fair compensation. Compensation is far more complex than a base salary. Pay may be based on productivity, net patient collections and other factors. We can advise you on structuring a compensation package in today's complex business environment.
- Handle intellectual property matters. Does intellectual property created by an employee belong to the employee or the employer? We address these issues up front to ensure that both physicians and employers have agreement on these issues in advance.
If the hospital service area has a need for a doctor of a certain specialty, the doctor may be offered the opportunity to establish a solo practice or group within the hospital service area. The hospital will guarantee a certain fee until the practice is up and running. We review and draft relocation agreements between doctor and hospital or doctor and medical group and hospital, if the doctor is joining an existing practice.
Call Coverage Agreements
Call coverage agreements are common ways to ensure that physicians are fairly compensated for providing emergency coverage to hospitals and emergency rooms. We can help you ensure that your medical agreement avoids several common problems and can withstand scrutiny in an investigation.
Often, call coverage agreements include noncompete agreements that prohibit doctors from having similar arrangements at competing hospitals. We advise both hospitals and doctors to ensure that the agreement is appropriate. We can also ensure mutual indemnity exists between the parties.
In addition to ensuring that the language in the contract is in your best interests, we ensure that the agreement meets stringent health care fraud and abuse regulations. The compensation in the agreement must be for fair market value, the services provided must be properly documents and other steps must be taken to ensure compliance.
Space and Equipment Leases and Purchase Agreements
When starting a new practice or medical venture, you will need to secure space to operate your business. You will also need to purchase, lease or rent imaging and diagnostic equipment, as well as other equipment that allows your practice to function. The agreements you make for space and equipment must be specifically tailored to the equipment.
Different rules apply to the lease and purchase of mobile equipment and fixed equipment. Similarly, different rules apply to full-time and part-time leases. To ensure that a part time lease is for fair-market value, the agreement must provide specific details of how often and for what purpose the space is being used. Full time leases have different considerations.
We will partner with you to ensure that contracts pertaining leases, equipment and all other logistical aspects of your practice are in your best interest and meet the strict requirements of state and federal laws and regulations.
Mobile Diagnostic Testing Agreements
Agreements related to mobile diagnostic testing - those where a medical practice leases diagnostic tools such as a CT scanner, MRI machine, or other equipment, and secures the services of a technician to operate the equipment - have come under an increasing amount of scrutiny in recent years. A variety of initiatives have complicated the ways that these agreements must be structured to remain in compliance with the Stark Law, Anti-Kickback statute, Anti-Markup Rule and other state and federal regulations.
When you work with our attorneys, you gain the peace of mind that comes from knowing that we are at the forefront of these changes and other developments in the field of medical contracts. We have the resources and knowledgeable staff necessary to create comprehensive diagnostic testing agreements that align with all other contracts pertaining to your practice, as well as with the practice's overarching business plan.
Non-Competition Clauses and Agreements
It's a common belief in Texas that noncompetition agreements are not enforceable, but that's not accurate. If properly drafted and implemented, noncompetition agreements - often referred to as restrictive covenants or noncompetes - are valid and enforceable.
In general, a noncompete agreement must be a reasonable in geographic area, scope of activity and time. In addition, Texas law provides specific requirements for physician noncompetes. Physician noncompetes:
- May not deny the physician access to records
- Deny physicians the ability to treat a patient who needs acute care
- Must provide the doctor with the ability to buy out of the agreement
We routinely represent both individual providers and health care entities in matters regarding non-competition agreements. Our attorneys:
- Draft restrictive covenants
- Review the terms of noncompetes in employment agreements
- Challenge or enforce noncompetes through litigation
Our familiarity with all sides of non-competition agreement issues allows us to provide sound advice and drafting services, and to efficiently and successfully protect our clients' interests in litigation.
Discuss Your Medical Contract Needs With Our Accomplished Health Care Attorneys
Do you need help with a medical contract? Contact us online or call 866-398-1856. Our Houston-based attorneys serve clients throughout Texas.