Healthcare Law

Recent Medical Board Matters

For medical care providers who see patients and write prescriptions for pain management, the opioid epidemic is at the forefront of the practice of medicine—particularly here in Humboldt County.  Recent opioid overdose data suggests an estimated 26 opioid overdose deaths in Humboldt County in 2016.  That’s one of the highest rates in California (per 100,000 residents), with the majority of deaths occurring between those aged 35 to 39 years old. 
 

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No Right to A Jury Trial in a Whistleblower Case against Health Facilities

This month, the California Supreme Court decided a very important decision for health facility employers and employees.  California law, at Health & Safety Code section 1278.5, provides protections for patients, nurses, members of a medical staff, or other health care workers who notify government entities of suspected unsafe patient care and conditions.  A health care facility is prohibited from then discriminating or retaliating.  Health care facilities who do discriminate or retaliate are subject to civil fines and attorneys’ fees.  In Shaw v. Superior Court (2017), Case No.

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Notice: Post Your Notice!

If you’re a physician in California, you must post a Notice of Non-Discrimination for patients who receive “federal financial assistance.”  Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act provides that physicians’ offices are required to post notices of non-discrimination and taglines that alert patients with limited English proficiency about the availability of language assistance services.
 

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Humboldt County Nursing Home Closures

As you may know, three of the five Humboldt skilled nursing facilities (“SNFs”) owned by Brius and managed by Rockport have been given authority by the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) to close their doors and transfer residents.  Janssen Malloy LLP requested copies of the transfer documentation filed with the CDPH on behalf of the SNFs.  If you or your loved ones wish to view the documentation from each of the three facilities, it can be found here.  

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End of Life Option Act

Please note that the End of Life Option Act was recently passed by the California legislature took effect on June 9, 2016.  Until January 1, 2026, this act authorizes an adult who meets certain qualifications and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease as defined in the act, to request medication prescribed for the purpose of ending his or her life. The act establishes procedures for making these requests, forms to request aid-in-dying medication and, under some circumstances, an interpreter declaration.

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Cures Registry Update

If you are a physician in Humboldt County with an active California Medical license and a federal DEA registration certificate for Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances you must be registered with the Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System database.  According to the Medical Board of California, it will investigate instances of physicians failing to register.  It is seeking authority to issue a fine and citation to physicians who have failed to register, and a failure to register can be added to an accusation by the MBC as an additional cause for discipline.

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End of Life Option Act

Effective June 9, 2016, California’s End of Life Option Act permits participating physicians to prescribe aid-in-dying drugs to their patients.  The law is extensive, requires a number of forms be completed and included in the patient’s medical record, and includes requisite timelines for accomplishing notice to patients and inclusion in the medical records.
 
An excellent discussion and analysis of the Act can be found at the Medical Board of California’s website here.  
 

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Physician Report Thyself

Occasionally it happens that a physician who has worked incredibly hard throughout his or her life runs into legal trouble.  When those troubles includes any criminal element—if for example a physician is charged by information or indictment with a felony or pleads to or is convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony — the physician’s obligation is to self-report to the California Medical Board.  Section 802.1 of California’s Business and Professions Code spells out the reporting requirements and can be found here.

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Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment

On October 1, 2014, changes to the Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) took effect. Humboldt County healthcare providers and patients alike should be aware.

POLST is a physician’s order, signed by both a doctor and a patient, that lays out the medical treatment a patient wishes to receive at the end of life. One of the benefits of POLST is that it encourages and facilitates conversations between healthcare providers and patients about end-of-life treatments, and it helps patients make their wishes known to providers and family members.

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Delegating to Physician Assistants

You’ve graduated from school, received your license, and you now have a job as a Physician Assistant.  Congratulations!  You should know, however, that a number of California laws continue to regulate your practice.  In particular, your employer should help you implement a written agreement that specifically addresses what medical services will be delegated by your supervising physician.  This is called the “Delegation of Services Agreement,” and California statutes and regulations require that it be signed by you and your supervising physician or physicians.  You are not permitted to provi

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Rising MBC Actions Against Physicians?

At Janssen Malloy LLP, we represent all manner of health care providers in licensing and disciplinary actions. Anecdotally, we’ve noticed a recent increase in investigations and disciplinary actions by licensing boards, particularly for physicians and nurses. When we began to look at statistics of the licensing agencies, our suspicions were confirmed.

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Consider Your B.R.N License

Nursing is a rewarding profession. Here in the rural areas of Northern California like Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, nurses garner a great deal of respect. And, we recognize that their jobs carry a certain amount of stress.

On occasion, one stress factor is a licensing action by the nurse's licensing agency. Since 2009, the Board of Registered Nursing in California has been adding enforcement staff. Anecdotal evidence tells us that enforcement actions by the B.R.N. have increased significantly in the last three to four years.

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Cancer Care in Humboldt County

Humboldt County is fortunate to now have in place an expanded cancer care program. St. Joseph Hospital, in Eureka, is part of a new collaboration between the cancer care community and Stanford University School of Medicine. A good description of the development of the cooperative effort is published in The North Coast Journal's January 23, 2014 edition. As both community members and counsel to many health care providers, the attorneys and staff of Janssen Malloy LLP thank and congratulate those responsible for bringing this asset to the area, with particular gratitude to Dr.

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Authorizing Release of Child's Medical Records

Parents are generally entitled to access the medical records of their child, but that right is not absolute. In California, where the medical care provided to the child was the type for which the child could have consented for treatment, medical care providers must have an authorization for the disclosure of medical records that is signed by the child.

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You've Been Served! Now What?

Medical care providers often receive subpoenas for patient records.  They also receive subpoenas to appear at a deposition, hearing or trial and testify about patient treatment.  What medical providers may not know is that contradictions in California and federal law exist about when it is permissible to disclose information pursuant to a subpoena.  Inexperienced providers run the risk of violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA") if they simply and quickly produce records or testify in response to a subpoena.

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Health Care Providers and Custody Disputes

Health care providers who treat minor patients are often dragged into custody disputes or used by parents for information or leverage in legal proceedings.  One of the questions health care providers encounter in such situations is whether both parents have equal rights to the minor patient's medical records.  As a general rule, California law provides that access to a child's medical records cannot be denied to a parent simply because that parent is not the parent with custody.  In other words, even non-custodial parents have the right to request their child's medical records.  There are i

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Improvements in "Nursing Home Compare" Site

One in seven Americans age 65 and older will spend time in one of the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes this year, and for those 85 and older the chances are more than one in five.  That adds up to about 3.3 million Americans.

To help patients and their families choose a nursing home and compare between different types of homes, the federal government hosts a web site called “Nursing Home Compare”.

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Mandated Reporters to Include Volunteers

If you work in the health care industry, you are likely aware that the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, requires mandated reporters, such as physicians and nurses, to report whenever they have knowledge of or observe, professionally, a child reasonably suspected to be the victim of child abuse or neglect. A failure to report is a crime punishable by imprisonment and/or fine.

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A Perfect Storm for Nursing Home Residents

Since 2005 there have been at least 46 buyouts of nursing home operators.  Private equity firms now own three of the five largest nursing home chains in the United States, including HCR Manor Care which was bought by the Carlisle Group for more than $6 billion dollars in 2007.

The private equity firms claim that, even though they are “for profit,” they can still  provide excellent care for seniors.  However, recent studies show that is simply untrue.

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Eureka Personal Injury Attorneys Finalists

News Release - For Immediate Release

June 21, 2011

Contact: Deborah Mathis, Communications Director - (202) 797-8600 or dmathis@publicjustice.net

Six California Lawyers Who Won Historic Verdict for Nursing Home Residents Are Finalists for Trial Lawyer of the Year Award


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Making a Nursing Home Decision

Because of the success the Janssen Law Firm had in litigation against nursing homes, people often ask us what they should look for in determining whether to put their loved one in such a home.   Starting January 1, 2011, it will be easier to make that determination.

As of that date, all California nursing homes will be required to post the ratings for that facility under the MEDICARE 5-STAR RATING SYSTEM.  That system looks at three different criteria to determine home’s rating: (1) health inspections; (2) staffing numbers; and (3) quality measures.

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Times-Standard - 2010's Biggest Trial Verdict

Journalist Matt Drange of the Eureka Times-Standard covered the Lavender v. Skilled Healthcare jury trial, writing in depth in a three part series the stories underlying the class action law suit against Skilled Healthcare.  Drange noted that it was the longest civil trial in Humboldt County history, and the $677 million verdict was the largest trial result in the United States in 2010.

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New Rules May End Nursing Homes Hide and Seek

NEW RULES ON CORPORATE DISCLOSURE MAY SPELL THE END OF HIDE AND SEEK BY NURSING HOMES

In recent years thousands of nursing homes across the nation have been purchased by large Wall Street private equity companies.  Unfortunately, the pattern has been that, once purchased, the private investors cut expenses and staff often below the legal minimum requirements.

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Skilled Healthcare LLC Lawsuit

On July 6th, 2010 a Humboldt County jury returned a verdict in excess of $670 million dollars against Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc., Skilled Healthcare LLC and 22 subsidiaries located throughout California for violating the state minimum staffing requirements.  The plaintiff class was represented by members W.

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Janssen Law Firm Announces Win

Michael Morrison and Amelia Burroughs of this Eureka, Humboldt County firm recently concluded the successful defense of a medical malpractice jury trial in Yreka, Siskiyou County, California.  The trial, presided over by the Honorable Karen Dixon, was very well run.  The court staff was quite helpful, and the jurors very attentive. The trial was a pleasant experience and demonstrated the civil jury experience at its best.
The Janssen Law Firm represents clients in litigation in all Northern California counties and Federal Courts.

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Risk Management Seminar - Healthcare Pros

Among the many important functions of the Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society is ongoing educational programs for health care professionals of Humboldt and Del Norte counties.  The next in the series of Risk Management Seminars will take place on October 1, 2009, and the subject matter will be "Anatomy of a Lawsuit."  Presenters will include Risk Management and Claims professionals from

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