The FHLF Monthly
Presented by The Florida Healthcare Law Firm
"Providing legal services to physicians and healthcare businesses
with the right pricing, responsiveness and ethics."


Issue XI

April 2011

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 Upcoming Events
Jeff Cohen will be presenting at the Charlotte County Medical Society Membership Meeting
 "ACOs and The Future of Private Practice"
Where: Medical Office Bldg.
Charlotte Regional Medical Center
Medical Office Building
 When: April 18, 2011  

To register or for more information visit
Al Meyer will be presenting in Boynton Beach on
"The Effect of Healthcare Reform on Medicare Program"
Where: Newport Place Health Fair
When: 10am




Outside General Counsel Services


Between ACOs, CMS, OIG, HHS, ACHA, OSHA, Stark and HIPAA, your rapidly growing health care organization faces the constant challenge of managing legal risk.  These highly complex laws and regulations require companies to utilize legal counsel much more than their counterparts in other industries.  Unfortunately, many large and traditional law firms have failed to respond to the needs of growing entrepreneurial health care businesses in this new economy.

Growing healthcare organizations need to find ways to manage their significant legal risks with more cost effective approaches.


To meet this demand, the Florida Healthcare Law Firm provides outside general counsel services.  We will be part of your team as a trusted advisor, advocate and counselor.   Our goal is to help your business sustain its market position and be there to help you attain the next level of success. Don't limit your legal resources to one person, hire the team!

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We will be offering a free series of ongoing, interactive webinars this year. You can take an active role in voting on the subjects you want covered by participating in a brief survey.



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Exclusive service for Members Only


The program allows members of participating organizations to call a hotline and speak with qualified healthcare legal counsel after hours on issues such as: integration strategies, regulatory compliance, subpoenas, electronic medical records, HIPAA, and more.


Contact Us for more information and details or to find out how your medical society or local organization can participate.

Areas of Service:
Asset Protection
Commercial Litigation
Compliance Plans (e.g. federal and state compliance for all healthcare matters)
Corporate Law (e.g. sale and purchase transactions, entity formations, super groups)
Employment Law Compliance
Estates and Trusts
Healthcare Law  (e.g. Stark, Fraud and Abuse, physician and hospital laws)
Healthcare Regulatory Matters (e.g. AHCA, Department of Health and Department of Insurance matters, counsel re DOJ and OIG matters)
Income and Payroll Tax
Marital and Family Law
Medical Malpractice Defense
Professional Licensing Board
Matters (e.g. Board of Medicine)
Real Estate Transactions
White Collar Crimes

Dear Friends and Clients,



We are excited to announce the expansion of our law firm to 3 new satellite offices around the state:  Ft. Myers, Melbourne and  Ft. Lauderdale and we expect to finalize locations in Daytona Beach and Pensacola by the end of the month! 


While I have served physicians and healthcare businesses around the state for many years, the expansion of our team makes it feasible to now serve areas of the state which have traditionally lacked sufficient legal counsel specializing in areas of the law that are essential in the health care industry. 



We hope you enjoy our updates and focus this month on a few simpler and more manageable things you ought to know.  As always, we thank you for the trust and pleasure of working with you.



Jeff Cohen




"Medical Practices Using Independent Contractors Beware"
By: Jeffrey L. Cohen 

Though it is customary for many medical practices to pay its physicians as 1099 independent contractors (instead of W-2 employees), doing so can be very expensive because the IRS is expected to increase its investigations and enforcement actions in this area.


Small to mid-sized employers (especially in the areas of hospital based specialties) have traditionally had a very relaxed attitude about how their staff is paid.  They figure "What's the big deal?  What difference does it make if I pay someone as an independent contractor versus withholding taxes and paying them as a W-2 employee?"   The answer:  Plenty!  Why?  Because if the IRS determines a person is wrongfully characterized by the employer as an independent contractor, the employer would be responsible for all the employer related taxes plus penalties.


            Determining whether or not a person would be viewed as a W-2 employee instead of an independent contractor is not a simple thing.  The "20 Point Test" typically used to guide the determination is not cut and dry.  And tax advisors often advise "When in doubt, characterize the person as a W-2 employee, not as an independent contractor."  That advice has never been more true than now, when our government is actively seeking ways to soothe our financial woes.


            Though characterizing people as W-2 employees will impact retirement plans (given the discrimination testing requirements), mistaking employees for contractors will definitely sting!


                                                   Read On


"Is It Time to Sell?" 

Part 2 of 2

By: Albert R. Meyer, JD, MHA 


In our last article we discussed some steps to take in preparing to bring the potential sale of your medical practice to market.  You took the time to make a sound decision to sell and you had the foresight to put your practice operations and finances in order to attract potential buyers.  So what do you do next?   Here are some things you may want to consider when actively marketing and ultimately selling your practice.


Keep Working. After making the decision to sell a medical practice many physicians begin to lose their intensity and attention to the details of the business of the practice.   They put their business on "cruise control." They take more days off, see fewer patients -- all resulting in the deterioration of income and the value of the practice.   Therefore, it is vitally important to continue usual business operations.  In fact, if you can increase your volume or decrease costs by utilizing mid-level practitioners you can add even more value to the practice. 


Consider Using a Broker or Other Professional to Market Your Practice. If you intend to continue to operate your practice in a profitable manner your time to market your practice will be limited and will no doubt extend the time to attract a qualified buyer.  A broker who is experienced in selling medical practices can help ease that burden and prequalify buyers before presenting them to you.  A good broker will have nationwide network of contacts that will allow you to draw from a bigger pool of potential buyers.  Not only that, a broker will be able to keep confidential your intent to sell your practice.  Finally, a good broker will be able to put together an impressive package of promotional materials to make a positive initial impression on prospective buyers.  

                                        Read On


Linda A. Keen, of-counsel

Linda Keen

Linda was interviewed by reporter Brittany Davis for a feature story at Health News Florida this month. You can read it HERE.

"What To Charge When Medicare Is A Secondary Payer"
By: Jeffrey L. Cohen 

          The advent of more entrepreneurial opportunities for physicians will cause them to wonder how to deal with Medicare patients when Medicare is the secondary payer.  For instance, physicians treating Medicare patients under a Letter of Protection (LOP) need to know how to deal with the Medicare secondary payer issue.

            The Department of Health and Human Services, back in 1996, issued a memorandum addressing the issues comprehensively.  The memo is available on our website, and the only piece of information missing is the requirement that Medicare claims be submitted within twelve (12) months from the date of service.

                                                   Read On

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