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Searching for Articles published in October 2013.
Found 63 Results.

Outside Publications

Posted on October 30, 2013, Authored by ,

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Posted on October 30, 2013, Authored by ,

"I always feel like somebody's watching me."

Posted on October 28, 2013, Authored by Sara J. Ackermann, Filed under Employment

Recently a client's Human Resources Manager complained to me that there was "nothing" the company could do to prevent an employee from "faking a migraine" when she felt like taking off in the middle of the day. This particular employee was certified for intermittent leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, but the same question could arise had the employee been taking leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. I responded, "But of COURSE there is SOMETHING you can do, have you thought of placing her on surveillance?" The HR Manager was surprised with my response. "Can we really do that?," she asked. I explained that so long as she hired a reputable company to do the surveillance -we don't want someone who is going to trespass or otherwise engage in illegal activity during the surveillance process- there was nothing under the FMLA or the ADA that barred an employer from putting an employee on surveillance to confirm suspicion of FMLA or ADA fraud. Of course, it should be something considered only in cases where a strong suspicion exists so there could be no allegation that the employer "interfered" with an employee's right to take FMLA. (Strong suspicion might exist when the employee is curiously absent every Friday afternoon and Monday morning, for example.) Before surveillance, make sure the employee understands the "rules" regarding FMLA leave so there are no misunderstandings. For example, if the employee leaves in the middle of the shift due to a migraine, and the migraine is over in an hour, is he supposed to return to work or can he then stay home the rest of his shift? Also, make sure you understand what the employee can and cannot do. If the employee is suffering from depression, it might not be considered FMLA abuse if she is seen shopping, running errands, or playing with her children during times when she is too blue to work. For example, in one case an employee claimed she was wrongfully terminated for alleged FMLA abuse when she was just doing what the doctor ordered by engaging in routine daily errands during her leave. Nelson v. Oshkosh Truck Corp., No. 07-C-509, 2008 WL 4379557 (E.D. Wis. Sept. 23, 2008). Bottom line: If you have an honest good faith question regarding whether an employee is engaging in FMLA fraud (or taking any leave for fraudulent reasons) then surveillance might be your answer. "I always feel like somebody's watching me."

Antitrust Laws in Health Care Transactions

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

Antitrust laws have a substantial impact on health care business transactions-this is especially true when it comes to provider integration efforts. Antitrust laws govern the extent of clinical and financial integration necessary to prevent an organization from price-fixing. We are well versed in the application of the antitrust laws to health care organizations. We have followed the FTC and DOJ positions on these matters and have applied them to numerous transactions in the health care industry. Antitrust issues are again rising to the foreground as providers look toward structuring organizations to create Accountable Care Organizations. As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Health Care Contract Negotiation and Preparation

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

Contracts in the health care industry require up-to-the-minute knowledge of regulatory changes. We have represented a broad range of health care providers in the preparation, review, and negotiation of a variety of contracts. Some examples of legal areas that affect health care contracting include Physician Self-Referral (Stark) Law, anti-kickback laws, antitrust laws and Medicare reimbursement laws and policies. Some of the contractual arrangements in which we have participated include: Hospital-Based Physician Contracts Hospital Service Management Agreements Medical Directorship Agreements Employment Contracts Clinical Trial Agreements Call Coverage Agreements IDTF Supervision Agreements Office Sharing Agreements Practice Management Agreements Group Purchasing Organization Agreements Medical Office and Facility Leases IPA Agreements Joint Venture Agreements Ambulatory Surgery Center Agreements Physician Recruitment and Retention Agreements Business Associate Agreements Relocation Agreements Ancillary Service Agreements Pharmacy Services Agreements Service Line Management Agreements Acquisition Agreements Health Care Technology Agreements Residency Agreements Billing and Collection Services Agreements Corporate, LLC and Shareholder Agreements As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Health Care Fraud and Abuse Prevention and Defense

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

Fraud and abuse is an area where we see significant future growth. There has been a great deal of discussion regarding health care fraud and the savings that can be achieved through increased governmental scrutiny. As a result, we expect increased governmental activity in this area. We prefer to take a proactive view towards fraud and abuse prevention and counsel our clients on how to best achieve compliance. The first line of defense against fraud and abuse claims is the establishment and operation of an effective compliance program. We are experienced in developing and operating these programs and assisting clients in meeting their responsibilities to avoid health care fraud and abuse. In the event that the operation of a compliance program uncovers improper billings or fee arrangements, we can assist clients in self-disclosing these items to the government and working out arrangements to defer further governmental actions. Governmental investigations often lead to civil or criminal prosecutions which can be based on broad or incorrect interpretation of often complex and contradictory legal requirements. In the unfortunate event that a client is are investigated or prosecuted, we can provide a team of qualified and knowledgeable attorneys to appropriately address the claim and defend civil or criminal prosecution. We are able to guide clients through the process involved with governmental enforcements and can also assist in working out Corporate Integrity Agreements or other diversion from prosecution or civil enforcement. As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Compliance Planning, Operation, and Defense

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

Health care fraud is perhaps the fastest growing area of health care law. This area is likely to expand even more in the future as the government looks for ways to finance health care costs through savings created by increased fraud enforcement. Providers are facing increased compliance obligations. Recently enacted health care reform legislation requires health care providers to adopt formal compliance programs for the first time. Compliance programs were previously not mandatory for most providers. Additionally, health care reform has provided the government with additional investigatory and regulatory authorities which necessitate all providers to enhance their compliance activities. Our health care attorneys routinely advise our clients on compliance matters in addition to the creation and ongoing monitoring of compliance programs to provide education to staff on the various aspects of the law relating to compliance programs. Our Focus Team stays abreast of changes in the law that affect compliance issues and counsels our clients on ways to proactively meet the new challenges that these new legal requirements present. Our dedication to maintaining top of mind knowledge is illustrated by our blogs, newsletters, and presentations covering timely topics on issues at the industry's forefront. Links to the blogs are as follows: www.healthlaw-blog.com www.wisconsinhealthlawyer.com We assist clients in the ongoing auditing and monitoring of compliance, and provide counsel in enforcing compliance plans. When serious violations are found, we assist our clients in self-disclosure. Although we prefer to guide our clients proactively in preventive compliance activities, we can also lead clients through governmental investigations and negotiation of agreements with governmental agencies to defer prosecution or civil monetary penalty cases. Because of the varied background of our Health Care Focus Team, we are also able to integrate compliance recommendations in other areas such as employment matters, corporate law, and other legal areas that affect the overall atmosphere of compliance throughout all aspects of the organizational structure. The creation of our Focus Team is a further reflection of Ruder Ware's commitment to providing excellent client service. As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Integrated Delivery System Development

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

Health care integration is once again in the forefront due to the passage of health care reform legislation and the resulting change in the reimbursement paradigm toward a shared savings model and models that require health care provider organizations to share risk. Our attorneys have substantial experience in the corporate, contractual, and legal issues that apply to the creation of all levels of integrated delivery systems. Our experience in this area dates back to the early 1990s with the initial move towards integration. Our attorneys have been involved in the creation of a wide variety of independent practice associations, from single specialty IPAs through multidisciplinary IPAs. We have been involved in the creation of physician/hospital organizations, group practices without walls, and single and multispecialty groups. We have also assisted hospitals and health care systems with acquiring and employing physicians with the objective of creating fully integrated health care delivery systems. Our practice in this area has required us to remain current on the various legal requirements that are applicable to provider integration. Some areas of particular relevance include state and federal antitrust laws, self-referral and anti-kickback laws, Medicare reimbursement, and tax laws affecting the status of exempt organizations. As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Health Care Business Transactions and Corporate Law

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

Health care transactions present unique challenges because of the industrys complex set of regulations. Members of our health care focus team work alongside attorneys in other practice areas who have extensive experience with complicated transactions. We can assist providers in the sale or acquisition of physician practices or in joint ventures between physicians and health care systems. We help clients navigate through the various legal obstacles created by reimbursements, self-referral prohibitions, anti-kickback laws, antitrust laws, licensing and certification laws, and a host of other legal and regulatory concerns that are uniquely applicable to the health care industry. We routinely assist health care providers in structuring new business enterprises in addition to restructuring current businesses to comply with regulatory changes. Attorneys on our health care focus team have structured multiple physician organizations, physician/hospital organizations, and integrated delivery systems. Our depth of background in the area of integrated delivery system development is of particular importance as providers react to the Affordable Care Act and the creation of accountable care organizations and similar organizations. Types of Health Care Business Transactions Facility Sale and Acquisition Provider Mergers and Acquisitions Debt and Equity Financing Transactions Affiliations and Strategic Partnerships Licensure and Reimbursement Issues Joint Ventures Physician Practice Organizations Development of Integrated Delivery Systems Management Service Organization Transactions Formation of Practice Management Companies Health Care Due Diligence Medical Office Building Acquisition and Development Hospital Affiliations Group Purchasing Organizations Real and Personal Property Leases Real Estate Acquisitions Securities Law Implications As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Long-term Care

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

Long-term care is a fast growing area of the health care industry primarily due to the aging baby boomer generation. At the same time, the long-term care industry is being subjected to increasingly complex regulatory requirements and more focused scrutiny by regulators. Ruder Ware attorneys can represent providers in all segments of the long-term care industry in a variety of matters including corporate, real estate, regulatory compliance and compliance program operation, contractual relationships, certificate of need, risk management, employment and labor law, medical director and other physician agreements, ancillary service provider agreements, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement issues, resident agreements and a variety of other areas that affect the daily business operations of long-term care providers. As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Self-referral and Anti-kickback Issues

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

Our health care attorneys are well versed in the various iterations of the Physician Self-Referral (Stark) law,the Anti-Kickback Statute, and Safe Harbor Regulations. These laws play a large role in the structure of financial relationships between health care providers. We have followed changes in these laws since the mid-1980s when the first decisions were handed down under the Anti-Kickback Statute and have counseled clients from the initial passage of the Stark law through the regulatory stages interpreting the Stark law. We have applied the various complexities of the Stark law and Anti-Kickback Statute to numerous arrangements, including physician compensation, group practice structure, ancillary service arrangements, radiology groups, independent diagnostic testing facilities, durable medical equipment arrangements, medical director agreements, joint venture arrangements between health care providers, ambulatory surgery center ventures, group purchasing organizations, home health agencies, hospices, and a variety of other health care businesses and contractual arrangements. As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Physician and Physician Group Representation

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

Physicians and physician groups face a multitude of business issues because of the intense regulatory requirements. Our skilled business transactions attorneys understand health care and can guide our clients through a myriad of complex legal issues. We routinely assist physicians and physician groups with: General corporate and business matters Physician compensation Provider-based contracting Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute compliance Sale and acquisition of practices Physician recruitment Noncompete analysis and litigation Creation of ancillary services Managed care contracting Billing and reimbursement issues Joint ventures Affiliations with other providers Call coverage issues Contract preparation and negotiations Medical staff issues Medical director and exclusive provider contracts Participation in integrated delivery systems Compliance program development and maintenance Employment issues Licensing matters HIPAA compliance and medical records management Governmental investigations Acquisition of major medical equipment We have represented large and small groups in the following specialty areas: Multispecialty Groups Primary Care Clinics Internal Medicine Groups Hospital-Based Physicians Cardiology Groups Radiology Groups Anesthesia Groups Gastroenterology Groups Surgery Groups Nephrology Groups Neurology Groups Behavioral Health Groups Ophthalmology Groups Otolaryngology Groups Urology Groups Pediatric Groups OB/GYN Groups Pulmonary Groups Emergency Medicine Groups Hospitalists Dental Groups Chiropractic Centers Alternative Clinics and Providers As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Labor and Employment Law for Health Care Providers

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

Ruder Ware attorneys assist health care providers in proactively designing, drafting, and maintaining policies in compliance with state, local, and federal laws. Our employment attorneys are actively involved with our health care lawyers, advising participants in the health care industry on various aspects of employment law, including: Employment Discrimination Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Compliance Workers Compensation Unemployment Compensation Employee Handbook/Policies Affirmative Action Plans Wage and Hour Claims/Department of Labor (DOL) Audits Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Compliance and Policy Matters Employment Agreements, Including Noncompete/Confidentiality Issues Severance Agreements Plant Closing/Mass Layoff (WARN compliance) Issues Discipline/Discharge Issues Training Workplace Investigations Employment Law Audits Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance ERISA Qualified Retirement Plans Executive Compensation Design and Compliance COBRA and HIPAA As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Wisconsin Court of Appeals Upholds Worker's Compensation Safety Violation Penalty

Posted on October 31, 2013, Authored by , Russell W. Wilson,

The maximum penalty imposed on employers for safety violations in worker's compensation is $15,000. Seldom does a safety violation case make its way through a hearing before an administrative law judge, to appeal to the Labor and Industry Review commission, to a circuit court appeal, and then finally to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. The costs rarely justify the effort in light of the cap on the penalty. A recent case, however, has made its way through the court of appeals and has resulted in an opinion issued on August 7, 2013, that has been recommended for publication, Sohn Manufacturing, Inc. and Secura Insurance v. LIRC and Tany Wetor (Appeal No. 2012AP2566). The court of appeals upheld the application of the safety violation statute. While there is nothing surprising about the result, the case does clarify the nature of the violation. Since safety violation cases reach the court of appeals so infrequently, the Sohn decision presents a good opportunity to review the basics of safety violation claims in worker's compensation.   The Statutes   Worker's Compensation section 102.57 (the "Safety Violation Penalty") provides that if injury is caused by failure of the employer to comply with any statute, rule, or order of the department, compensation and death benefits . . . shall be increased 15% but the total increase may not exceed $15,000. Failure of an employer reasonably to enforce compliance by employees with any statute, rule or order of the department constitutes failure by the employer to comply with that statute, rule or order.   Wisconsin's "Safe Place Statute," section 101.11 provides in part:   (1) Every employer shall furnish employment which shall be safe for the employees therein and shall furnish a place of employment which shall be safe for the employees therein and for frequenters thereof and shall furnish and use safety devices and safe-guards, and shall adopt and use methods and processes reasonably adequate to render such employment and places of employment safe, and shall do every other thing reasonably necessary to protect the life, health, safety and welfare of such employees and frequenters . . .   (2) No employer shall require, permit or suffer any employee to go or be in any employment or place of employment which is not safe, and no such employer shall fail to furnish, provide and use safety devices and safeguards, or fail to adopt and use methods and processes reasonably adequate to render such employment and place of employment safe, and no such employer shall fail or neglect to do every other thing reasonably necessary to protect the life, health, safety and welfare of such employees and frequenters; and no employer or owner, or other person shall hereafter construct or occupy or maintain any place of employment or public building, that is not safe, nor prepare plans which shall fail to provide for making the same safe . . . (Emphasis added.)   The Sohn Decision   The employee in the Sohn case, Tanya Wetor, injured her hand while attempting to clean a machine that was operating. It is apparent from the decision that the applicable OSHA standard, Lockout/Tagout, was not implemented. The administrative law judge and the LIRC awarded the additional 15%. Both the circuit court and the court of appeals upheld the penalty imposed by the commission. On appeal the employer asserted two arguments. First, the employer argued that federal law preempts state law. Second, the employer asserted that neither the Safe Place Statute nor federal regulations may form the basis of a violation of section 102.57.   Not surprisingly, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals rejected both of the employer's arguments. In dispensing with the federal preemption argument, the court of appeals noted that Congress specifically exempted "any workmen's compensation law" from the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Moreover, the court of appeals determined that the violation of Wisconsin's Safe Place Statute or federal workplace safety regulations may indeed form the basis for increased compensation under the Safety Violation Penalty. The court of appeals explained that violation of the federal Lockout/Tagout safety standard was not the actual violation of section 102.57. Rather, the court of appeals clarified, the violation of the federal regulatory program was evidence that the Safe Place Statute had been violated. Therefore, the violation of the Safe Place Statute constituted the violation of "any statute" within the meaning of section 102.57.   The Basics of the Safety Violation Penalty   The court of appeals technical, legalistic distinction between the violation of the Safe Place Statute itself, as opposed to the violation of a federal workplace regulation that serves as evidence that the Safe Place Statute was violated, is as a practical matter a distinction without a difference. When Safety Violation Penalties are asserted in worker's compensation, the Department of Workforce Development ("DWD") typically requires counsel for the employee to specify the basis for the claim for increased compensation. Perhaps an OSHA regulation may be invoked, as it was in the Sohn case. Or possibly standards under such codes as the NEC or the NFPA may apply through adoption by reference into the Wisconsin Administrative Code. In the absence of such a specific program, however, the default standard is the general duty set forth in the Safe Place Statute.   In effect, the employee has potentially "two kicks at the cat." An analogous situation is the prosecution for driving under the influence where the prosecutor obtains a conviction where it is shown that the driver had a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit. But even where the blood alcohol concentration test evidence fails for one reason or another, the prosecutor may still achieve a conviction upon demonstrating that the driver was "under the influence" based upon his or her conduct and behavior.   Under the Safety Violation Penalty, a rebuttable presumption of causation arises where a worker safety regulation is intended to prevent the type of injury that happened. For example, where an employer removes a machine guard (or is aware, or ought to have been aware, that a machine guard has been removed), and the employee is injured by the action of the machine, the law presumes that the injury was caused by the absence of the guard. In that circumstance, the employer is faced with the challenge of rebutting the evidentiary presumption that the absence of the guard caused the injury.   Employers face additional challenges in defending against Safety Violation Penalties. While evidence of implementation of "subsequent remedial measures" is, as a general matter, not admissible into evidence in civil lawsuits founded on negligence and strict product liability (subject to numerous exceptions), these measures are admissible into evidence in actions premised upon violation of the Safe Place Statute, which include Safety Violation Penalty claims in worker's compensation. Again, an example illustrates this point. In the hypothetical case of the absence of the machine guard, suppose that shortly after the injury the employer reinstalled the guard or replaced the machine with a state-of-the-art model. Under that circumstance, the employee's evidence that the employer had done so would be admissible into evidence in order to prove that the employer was in violation of the Safe Place Statute at the time of injury, thus making the employer liable for increased compensation under the Safety Violation Penalty.   Employers often respond by stating that such an extreme evidentiary rule runs counter to products liability and reflects bad policy. The law of evidence ought not serve as a disincentive to employers to continually improve safety. These concerns are well founded.   Another concern is constructive notice. Suppose that the injured worker's supervisor had been aware that the guard in our hypothetical case had been absent and the supervisor had taken no step to make the machine safer. In that instance, the knowledge of the missing guard would likely be imputed as a matter of law to the employer, thus placing the employer in violation of the Safe Place Statute.   Worker's compensation is a "no fault" program. Violation of the Safe Place Statute and liability for Safety Violation Penalties do not apply in every instance. Some factual circumstances fall under the "act of operations" line of Safe Place Statute cases that can exonerate the employer from the acts of co-employees. Accurately distinguishing between acts of operations, on the one hand, from unsafe employment or an unsafe place of employment, however, can be an exercise in uncertainty.   The employer has the obligation to enforce lawful safety rules. Suppose the employer in our hypothetical case maintained the guards in place and consistently applied progressive discipline to its employees who removed the guard. Under that circumstance the insurance carrier (or the self-insured employer) could seek a 15% reduction of compensation (also subject to a $15,000 cap) under section 102.58. The deduction cannot be taken prior to hearing; it can be taken only after a final determination.   Counter-intuitive though it may seem, increased compensation under section 102.57 and decreased compensation under section 102.58 are not mutually exclusive. In Milwaukee Forge v. Dept. of Industry, Labor and Human Relations, 66 Wis.2d 428, 225 N.W.2d 476 (1975) an employee suffered a hand amputation where his employer had provided tongs that were too short to allow him to push forgings completely through a drop forge. For that reason, the increased compensation penalty under section 102.57 was upheld. The employee had been consistently warned, however, to push as far as the tongs would safely allow and then walk to the other side so as to safely pull with the tongs. Instead of taking the time to walk around the machine, the employee reached with the tongs while pushing so that his hand entered the drop forge; the forge dropped just at that moment. Thus a decrease in compensation under section 102.58 was also upheld.   It is up to the employer to defend and pay Safety Violations Penalties. Worker's compensation insurance carriers have liability under section 102.57 only secondarily where the employer is unable to satisfy its obligation to pay the increased penalty. If you have questions on this topic, please contact Russ Wilson.

Information Technology in Health Care

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

The relationship between information technology and health care law is fast growing. We have a depth of understanding in the interaction between these areas of the law. We provide legal and business advice to both health care providers and information technology providers. We help providers navigate the fast-changing area of patient privacy and the requirements under HIPAA and the technological aspects that come with their responsibilities under this developing area of the law. Whether the issue is licensing new software, procuring hardware, implementing medical record systems and e-prescribing, electronic information sharing, or technologically monitoring results or quality, we are able to address the needs of health care providers in a knowledgeable and proactive manner. Where more depth of knowledge is required in the intellectual property, venture financing, business transaction, securities, and corporate law areas, our health care lawyers have a broad range of additional resources to call upon within the firm. Areas we can assist clients in the health care information technology arena include: HIPAA and patient confidentiality issues Creation and operation of compliance programs Breach reporting and policy enforcement E-prescribing issues Electronic medical record exchanges Negotiation and preparation of software licensing arrangements Development and operation of health care social networking Securing protection for proprietary products and information As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Behavioral Health Lawyers-Wisconsin Behavioral Health Representation

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

We are able to serve as general or special counsel to behavioral health providers, including individual mental health practitioners, behavioral health clinics, rehabilitation facilities, community mental health centers, acute care psychiatric facilities, behavioral health systems, residential treatment facilities, and others involved in the delivery of behavioral health services. Our health care attorneys can assist behavioral health clients with compliance issues, reimbursement matters, fraud and abuse allegations, risk management, certification and regulatory approvals, patient privacy and confidentiality issues, labor and employment issues, contract matters, joint ventures and affiliations, facility and program development, and a host of other health care, business law, regulatory, and litigation matters. We can provide counsel to the following: Psychiatric Hospitals and Hospital Systems Psychiatric Units Behavioral Health Clinics Community Mental Health Centers Mental Health Rehabilitation Centers Mental Health Centers Residential Care Facilities Private Social Service Agencies Mental Health Care Practitioners As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Medicare and Medicaid Reimbursement Issues

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

We are knowledgeable on various aspects of Medicare reimbursement and their impact on health care providers and transactions. We can assist clients with Medicare and Medicaid compliance issues such as provider-based status, supervision requirements in various patient care settings, provider enrollment issues, outpatient prospective payment issues, administrative appeals of program denials, recovery audit contractor reviews, repayment and self-disclosure issues, fraud and abuse issues, conditions of coverage issues, Stark law and anti-kickback issues, and a variety of other Medicare issues. We are cognizant of the effects that Medicare issues have upon health care contracts and transactions. In contract, transactional, and business matters, we are able to advise clients concerning the impact of Medicare laws on the structure of the applicable arrangement. As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Certificate of Need Planning, Preparation, and Litigation

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

We can assist clients in planning for new facility and new program developments and meeting the regulatory requirements, including certificate of need (CON) application and litigation. We have prepared CON applications and handled litigation resulting from CON filings. We have prosecuted CON cases through the administrative process and can therefore assist clients in developing strategies and arguments to support their applications. We have worked with consultants and need analysts who testify in support of our clients and have cross-examined experts of other applicants, successfully obtaining approval for a number of projects. Some of our attorneys were involved in the CON process in states that have very strong regulation. This experience positions us to address issues that arise in less-regulated states and places us in a prime position to address issues that may be created by potential increased legislation requiring a demonstration of need for new projects in states that currently do not have expansive CON requirements. As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Legislative and Regulatory Matters

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

We work with our clients to address pending legislation or regulations that affect their operations. We have assisted in preparing comments in response to proposed health care regulations. We have also been involved in assisting clients to inform legislators of possible unintended consequences of their proposed actions. We have also been involved proactively in drafting and presenting proposed legislation and explaining the need for change to legislators and regulators at both the state and federal levels. We routinely track proposed legislation that may affect our clients from introduction through final action. We offer strategic advice throughout the process and look for opportunities to voice our clients' concerns regarding legislation. We have attended hearings and provided testimony on behalf of our clients. We have also assisted our clients in preparing testimony and planning other ways to enhance their legislative interest. As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions; Litigation & Dispute Resolution; Employment, Benefits & Labor Relations; and Trusts & Estates.

Employee Handbook Program

Posted on October 29, 2013, Authored by ,

You undoubtedly have heard of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10. Act 10 would eliminate nearly all collective bargaining for public sector employees. Public employers would only be permitted to bargain on total base wages. Prohibited subjects of bargaining would include everything but total base wages. The timing of the impact of Act 10 will depend on the expiration of any collective bargaining agreement currently in place and events in Madison. Currently, it is expected that Act 10s provisions will be incorporated within Governor Walkers pending Budget Bill and will take effect by at least June 30, 2011. If this occurs, provisions within collective bargaining agreements will be void upon their expiration, including provisions setting forth the rights, duties, and benefits of union employees. As a result, public employers will be required to adopt policies and/or draft employee handbooks to take the place of the provisions that were typically addressed in their collective bargaining agreements. Act 10 also specifies that public employers create a civil service system or grievance procedure addressing employee discipline, employee discharge, and workplace safety issues. No two public employers are identical and, therefore, personnel policies/employee handbook provisions should be unique to the employers operations. Adopting a one size fits all model handbook may not be workable or in the best interest of particular employers as such an approach will certainly not incorporate the employers specific public policy choices or the nuances of their operations. Rather, a review of each employers specific policies and the provisions included within its current collective bargaining agreements should be conducted and their substantive and unique terms incorporated within the personnel policies/employee handbook as appropriate. In addition, individuals in charge of developing new personnel policies and/or an employee handbook must ensure that the provisions in those materials comply with applicable law. Substantive provisions within personnel policies and/or collective bargaining agreements that would normally be included in the personnel policies and/or employee handbook include: Fringe Benefits. Work Rules/Code of Conduct. Health Insurance Dental Insurance Vision Insurance Life Insurance Long Term Disability Insurance Workers' Compensation Coverage Vacation Holidays Personal Days Sick Leave Days Bereavement Leave Days Retirement Benefits Longevity Dress Codes Sexual Harassment/Non-Discrimination Violence in the Workplace Affirmative Action Political Activities Union Activities Smoking Bullying Drug/Alcohol Use and Testing Workplace Safety Attendance/Absenteeism/Tardiness Nepotism Premium Pay and Payment for Hours of Work. Work Issues. Work Schedules Break/Lunch Times & Pay Overtime Pay Call-In Pay Standby Pay Shift Differential Flex Time Compensatory Time Off Job Descriptions Payroll Procedures Job Postings Job Assignments Job Transfers Job Sharing Layoff/Recall Leaves of Absences. Extended Medical Family Leave Extended Unpaid Personal Leave Jury Duty Military Leave Ruder Ware is prepared to assist you in transitioning from your union contracts to personnel policies and/or an employee handbook which set forth employee working conditions, and your employment policies and procedures. Our program offers the following: Present a list of possible provisions to be included within the new personnel policies/employee handbook from which you can select those applicable and/or desired by you. Review current employment related policies, manuals, handbooks, and collective bargaining agreements for purposes of incorporating provisions within the new personnel policies/handbook. Make recommendations in regard to changes to current provisions and new provisions that should be adopted. Provide model core policies (e.g., discrimination, affirmative action, etc.) at no cost. Incorporate a model grievance procedure (available now) within the personnel policies/employee handbook as required by law. Analyze and determine what total base wages will mean for you or purposes of future collective bargaining. Complete the personnel policies/employee handbook for your final review and approval. Provide subsequent follow up advice after implementation of the new personnel policies/employee handbook to ensure a smooth transition. Provide a cost-free workshop after implementation of the personnel policies/employee handbook that will be conducted jointly with other public employers that have utilized the service to address any lingering concerns or questions. As an added service our firm offers no cost electronic legal updates to all interested business professionals. As part of a full-service law firm, our attorneys provide clients with a one-stop approach to their legal needs. Ruder Ware, the largest Wisconsin law firm headquartered north of Madison, also provides legal counsel in Business Transactions, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, and Trusts & Estates.

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