But Does It Work in the Real World? Second Order Thinking and Perfect Legal Structure. – Podcast

I recently attended a continuing legal education seminar. From a purely legal standpoint, the models made sense. However, from the practical standpoint, one apparently lost on the presenter, the structures were unfinanceable.

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Mark F. Weiss

www.advisorylawgroup.com

Idiocy Of The RFP Process For Professional Services – Rebroadcast – Medical Group Minute

Some hospital attorneys and, therefore, some hospital administrators, believe that every contract for professional services should be subject to a request for proposal (RFP) process. That’s ridiculous.

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Mark F. Weiss

www.advisorylawgroup.com

The Best Way To Deal With Disruptive Employees – Rebroadcast – Success In Motion

Ride along with Mark as he discusses the best way to deal with disruptive employees.

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Mark F. Weiss

www.advisorylawgroup.com

No More Walk In The Park For Convicted Forest Park Defendants

One thing’s for certain, it will be no more walk in the park for the seven defendants convicted for their roles in a bribe and kickback scheme related to referring patients to Forest Park Hospital, a now defunct chain of Texas facilities.

Well, I suppose those defendants sentenced to time in federal prison will still get a walk in the yard, as in the prison yard, but that’s not even in the same universe.

The Story

Forest Park was a chain of beautifully constructed facilities. However, beneath the veneer of great architecture and beautiful interior design was, so federal prosecutors alleged, a decrepit scheme involving questionable marketing agreements and multiple types of fake arrangements from “consulting contracts” to “leases” and even fake companies.

The alleged aim? Referrals of well-insured patients to the out-of-network facility.

Last week, on April 9, 2019, the jury in the Forest Park bribery and kickback trial in federal court in Dallas found seven of the nine defendants guilty. At issue were multiple charges, from violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute to money laundering.

The government contended that Forest Park took in $200 million and paid out $40 million in kickbacks.

Among those indicted were physicians, hospital executives, and alleged intermediaries in the trail of funds.

The following physicians were convicted on April 9:

  • Spine surgeon Shawn Henry, D.O.
  • Spine surgeon Michael Rimlawi, D.O.
  • Pain management physician Mike Shah, M.D.
  • Spine surgeon Douglas Won, M.D.

So, too, were Forest Park’s co-administrator Mac Burt,  Jackson Jacob, the owner of companies through which Forest Park channeled payments to physicians, and a nurse and workers’ compensation insurance consultant, Iris Forrest.

The Moral

The easiest (and most gratuitous) takeaway is that kickbacks are illegal. But, you already know that, at least in concept. So, in a sense, it’s not very helpful advice.

What’s far more important to note is the need for caution, extreme caution, whenever entering into any sort of financial relationship with someone or some entity with whom you share a referral relationship, no matter which way the referrals flow.

For example, some of the allegations in the Forest Park case centered around the payment of “marketing money” from the facility to physicians. Some naïvely believe that marketing money from a hospital to physicians is not something that should concern significant anti-kickback scrutiny. Wrong.

Additionally,  Forest Park shows that even convoluted payments through “money drop” entities, even ones that look like a game of Chutes and Ladders, can be un-woven. And, as a double take away for you, they can be un-woven by other participants in a scheme such as the former Forest Park Chief Operating Officer and a physician/investor/founder who both previously pleaded out and cooperated with the authorities in  convicting their fellow schemers.

One can assume that all or nearly all of the now convicted men and women had counsel advise them on the propriety of their arrangements. So, when someone tells you the deal is okay because their attorney vetted it, don’t be so sure. Make sure that the person advising you not only has knowledge, but also a good dose of common sense.

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Mark F. Weiss

www.advisorylawgroup.com

Do You Make This Mistake in Business? – Podcast

In many medical specialties, both hospital and office based, national groups have become significant competitors.

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Mark F. Weiss

www.advisorylawgroup.com

Why Hospitals Don’t Want Employed Physicians to (Really) Succeed – Rebroadcast – Medical Group Minute

Hospitals are employing more physicians. So why don’t they want them to become really successful?

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Mark F. Weiss

www.advisorylawgroup.com

Using “Future You” As A Guide To Better Contracts And Business Relationships – Success In Motion

Take a seat and ride along as Mark discusses using the concept of “Future You” when structuring medical group and physician contracts and business relationships.

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Mark F. Weiss

www.advisorylawgroup.com

Marrying For Money – One Hospital’s Merger Urge Is Your Negotiating Lesson

Last fall, Milford Hospital, located in Milford, Connecticut, announced that it was exploring a merger with Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health.

A week or so ago, Connecticut state legislators spoke in support of Milford’s request for required state approval of the merger, under the terms of which all of Milford’s employees would become Bridgeport employees.

After all, according to a report issued by the officials, “this partnership is necessary to save Milford Hospital….”

Reality Check!

“Merger.” “Partnership.” Both are nice words but, here, are simply nice euphemisms.

The deal between Milford and Bridgeport is structured as an asset purchase. Milford isn’t merging with anyone. Milford isn’t partnering with anyone. Milford, as an entity, is ceasing to exist. But yes, at least for now, the physical location will continue to be a hospital.

So what can you learn from this?

First, when you read about facility X or medical group Y “merging” or “partnering” with some other facility or group, don’t necessarily assume that they are breaking out the champagne. What appears to be a happy marriage may not be a marriage at all. What appears to be a date with destiny, rainbows, and unicorns may simply be staving off starvation.

Second, if you are ever in the position of needing, yes, truly needing to be acquired, you are not doing yourself any favor by letting the prospective acquirer know that closing the deal, or, euphemistically, “partnering up,” is necessary to save you. The more you need the deal, the less they need to pay you for it.

Think about it this way: If someone wants to marry you only for your money, would you jump into that relationship?

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Mark F. Weiss

www.advisorylawgroup.com

Cooking Time = Negotiating Time – Podcast

Each negotiation has its own timing, not one set by a standard recipe or by a clock on the wall or on the calendar, but one that can be, and should be, set by you.

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Mark F. Weiss

www.advisorylawgroup.com

Another Hospital System Settles Whistleblower Allegations That Outpatients Were “Turned Into” Inpatients – Medical Group Minute

Alchemists struggled without success for centuries attempting to turn lead into gold.

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Mark F. Weiss

www.advisorylawgroup.com