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Austin Texas Legal Issues Blog

Judge sentences hospital owner, doctor to prison for fraud

It is not uncommon for physicians to take a business interest in a health care facility. Such business relationships must be entered into carefully or the physician could face allegations of illegal kickbacks and other criminal violations. A recent case provides an example.

EHR and health care fraud: Vendors, doctors face charges

Software companies marketed electronic health record (EHR) programs as a way to help better ensure quality patient care. In theory, the software would provide accurate, up to date patient records that were readily available to the treating physician. In reality, flaws in some EHR programs led to dangerous errors.

Doctors take note: 3 ways to reduce the risk of a med mal suit

Data shows approximately half of all physicians will face a medical malpractice lawsuit at some point during their professional career. Top causes for a lawsuit include a failure to diagnose an illness or a poor outcome after a medical procedure.

Medical professionals can reduce the risk by taking proactive steps. Three examples include:

What triggers an HHS OIG investigation?

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) ensures HHS programs run smoothly. This agency holds those who abuse the program accountable for their wrongdoing by, when necessary, pursuing criminal charges.

CMS to conduct audits, review risk adjustment payments

The United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released the findings from a study that focused on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provision of unsupported risk adjustment payments. The OIG questioned the CMS' failure to support the risk adjustment payment requests from Medicare Advantage organizations (MAOs) when the MAO failed to provide evidence it conducted a face-to-face appointment to support the requested payment.

Whistleblower lawsuit against neurosurgeons moves forward

Two physicians and an operating room technician filed a whistleblower lawsuit against a group of neurosurgeons and the medical facility where they operated. The whistleblowers accused the medical professionals of falsely inflating the number of spinal surgeries in an effort to increase their earnings and patient referrals. The hospital countered that the practices used were standard throughout the profession. If the whistleblower can support the claim, the allegations result in a violation of the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS).

Three things to know about Texas’ new health care billing law

Private practices in Texas must navigate federal, state and local health care regulations. They must stay current and make sure their businesses are in line with any changes to the law. As a result, private practices throughout the state are likely reviewing their billing practices to make sure they are in line with a newly passed law designed by lawmakers to limit surprise billing.

DOJ charges Texas billing clerk with health care fraud

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) continues its focus on health care fraud investigations involving National Football League (NFL) players. The agency recently announced another round of criminal charges. As discussed in a recent post, the agency indicted ten players earlier this month for health care fraud crimes. This round of criminal charges involves a billing clerk that was allegedly affiliated with a health care fraud scheme that involved another, former NFL player.

DOJ accuses football players of health care fraud

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced it will pursue charges against ten former players for the National Football League (NFL). The government has accused these professional athletes of partaking in a scheme to file false and fraudulent claims for medical equipment.

Will tech innovations help address nursing shortage in TX?

Texas and states throughout the country are in the midst of a nursing shortage. The problem is so serious, that the dean of the Texas A&M College of Nursing recently testified before a U.S. committee. The testimony included a discussion on innovations within academic nursing. Hospitals throughout the state are struggling to find nurses to provide quality care to patients. According to this educational leader, one potential answer to this shortage is increased reliance on technological innovations.

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