The Problem

All businesses need to be careful with hiring and paying attorneys. American Express at Open Forum reports on the different ways that law firms take advantage of clients. Some examples: Including charges for corporate, estate planning and real estate forms that they have used multiple times and billed to multiple clients.  Being shuffled off to less experienced attorneys and paying for the “supervision” by the senior attorney; and, refusing to negotiate the billable hour and replacing it with things like flat fees or other creative billing.

According to AMEX: “All attorneys should be open to negotiating their hourly rate, especially if you have a big project or will pay a cash retainer up front,” said Street. “Better yet, ask them to quote you a flat rate for your project. Most attorneys are still learning how to think about flat- or project-rate billing, so they may need your help in setting the fee, but you will then have complete control over the cost of your representation.”

Avoiding Excessive Legal Fees

All businesses, especially healthcare businesses, avoid the problems of hiring lawyers by creating a continuing relationship with a lawyer. Businesses of a certain level have the ability to hire in-house counsel, an important position in any organization. The General Counsel of a firm can protect it from many legal threats and can help the organization find appropriate legal support.

Smaller businesses can’t afford to hire General Counsel. Given the more and more complicated legal framework, owners of businesses must find appropriate avenues to obtain advice to avoid the harsh penalties of a legal mistake.

Healthcare Law and the General Counsel

Healthcare firms must make sure that they get accurate and specialized lawyering to support their business. One step is to follow the guidelines of AMEX when hiring a lawyer and make sure they are getting the right advice and paying the appropriate amount for the advice.  Negotiating and setting a set plan for the advice needed is the best alternative to the billable hour.

Healthcare Compliance

Healthcare firms face a wide range of regulatory compliance matters impacting the healthcare industry.

Kinley Law Practice works with businesses to create and implement safeguards to ensure that clients are in compliance with all applicable federal and state regulations. These safeguards not only minimize exposure to administrative fines, costly lawsuits and settlements, they also ensure maximum profits and efficiency.

KLP’s compliance capabilities include:

• Anti-kickback laws
• Stark Law matters
• Ethics and Patient Referral Act
• Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA)
• Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
• Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH)
• Loss of licensure issues
• Corporate Integrity Agreement negotiations with Health and Human Services
• Office of the Inspector General
• Clinical Research Regulations
• Informed Consent matters
• Medical staff and peer review matters
Outside General Counsel Services

KLP’s general counsel services are a unique way for healthcare clients to obtain the expertise and accessibility of an in-house legal team without having to endure the burden of employing and managing a team of attorneys. Our clients typically engage us on a set monthly retainer based on business size, volume of work involved and other business specific factors. We provide a complete turnkey solution for all legal needs, or we can work with existing in-house counsel to provide specialized guidance with a particular challenge, such as with post-acquisition employment compliance integration or the development and maintenance of a licensure platform.

As “outside general counsel” we provide the following services personalized to the specific needs of our clients:

Compliance and Risk Assessment. We personally visit our clients’ business site and conduct a top to bottom review of processes to assess risk and establish relationships with staff. We will know each key employee by name and each of those individuals has access to our expertise at their fingertips.

Contract Review and Negotiation. We draft, revise and update all form contracts and negotiate and document the multitude of contracts our clients need to function. We provide a complete solution from equipment purchase deals to commercial leases and everything in between.

Employment Issues. We help develop sound recruiting, hiring, discipline, termination policies to help our clients minimize administrative claims and litigation risks.

Litigation Management. We manage all aspects of litigation by outside counsel or handle litigation needs ourselves. If hiring other outside counsel is in the best interest of our clients, we will work with outside counsel to keep track of budgets and strategies. We monitor important filings, deposition transcripts and coordinate trial and alternative dispute resolution tactics.

Onsite Office Visits and Management Meetings. We partner with our clients to on site at regular intervals to enable us to work face-to-face with key management personnel in identifying and implementing specific strategies for improving efficiency in a legally sound manner. We regularly participate in key management meetings and provide input as needed.

Transactions and Real Estate Needs. We advise our clients in all aspects of transactions such as the purchase of physician practice, to structuring the ownership of medical office buildings occupied by physician owners. We also negotiate space leases between hospitals and physicians as well as consult in the construction, financing and equipping of continuing care retirement communities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities.

Matt Kinley, Esq. Healthcare Lawyer at Kinley Law Practice.