02 Oct When to Hire a Dental Practice Lawyer
It is extremely important for anyone who is running or starting a new dental practice that you ensure you are in compliance with all relevant laws to prevent legal issues down the road. A dental practice lawyer can help structure your practice in a manner that will help avoid problems and can assist you to have any problems do you happen to arise.
Dental Practice Lawyer Consumer Law Help
Just like any business that is based on customers, dentists must comply with all FTC requirements for advertising, product quality and other consumer issues. However, there is specific medical consumer law that must be applied for this professional field. Those specific consumer laws are the following:
Consent – every time the dental physician performs a procedure on a patient for the first time, they first need to obtain informed consent. Every state has certain requirements for what constitutes informed consent, but generally, any informed consent discussion should include information about:
- The nature of the proposed treatment, including necessity, probable prognosis, procedure length, recovery time and cost
- Any commonly excepted viable alternatives, including specialty treatments and the likely consequences of choosing no treatment
- And finally, disclosure of any foreseeable risk of the proposed procedure
As well as offering the informed consent information, a dentist must be sure to answer any questions and then get an informed consent form signed.
Consent is implied if the patient is made aware that a recurring procedure will be occurring, such as cleaning every time they come into a dentist, but these requirements vary based on state law. If you are not sure of the requirements of your state, contact a dental practice lawyer in your state for more information.
Dental Patient Rights – if you are a member of an association or state licensing board who has a set patient rights statement, you are held to its tenets as a matter of consumer law. Violation of such will leave you open to sanctions and lawsuits. Most rights statements consist of standards-based on reporting, records, and care.
HIPAA – The health insurance portability and accountability act set the standard for protecting sensitive patient information. As one conducting a dental practice, your patient records are subject to HIPAA, which means that any physical or digital records must be protected with proper safeguards.
Records of and information regarding patient diagnosis and treatment must be kept strictly confidential except when given written permission to disclose that information to others such as an insurance provider. For information on how to properly protect your information of your patients, contact a dental practice lawyer.
Dental Malpractice and Clinical Negligence – when a dentist is determined to have failed in following the generally excepted standard of care for treating a patient, they can face a dental malpractice lawsuit. Typically, malpractice lawsuits follow nerve injuries, failure to diagnose oral cancer or periodontal disease, and unnecessary or wrongful tooth extraction is done.
Clinical negligence lawsuit can be costly and complicated cases to resolve. If you may be facing a dental malpractice suit, it may be extremely important to consult a dental practice lawyer immediately. However, payouts should ultimately be covered by malpractice insurance. For more information on malpractice insurance, contact a dental practice lawyer.
Agreement Help from A Dental Practice Lawyer
A dental practice lawyer can help with a variety of different types of agreements that need to be written up. The main two kinds of agreement that they may help you with are the following:
Associate Agreement – many dentists who join a dental practice join as an associate in their early careers. These associates join by means of an associate agreement, that can dictate not only their future earning potential and career path but may also have greater legal implications.
One should carefully assess the merits of these offers and scrutinize for any limiting clauses, such as transfer of ownership of patient charts, non-solicitation provisions and non-compete clauses. If you are not sure of potential legal implications of an offer associate agreement, it is best to discuss that contract with a dental practice lawyer.
Practice Buy-ins and Partnership Agreements – when one is offered a chance to buy into a practice or to be made partner, it can be very tempting to except right away. However, it is important to know exactly what you were getting into before signing.
Partner agreements can dictate your tax burden, legal liability, management responsibilities and many other factors of your business partnership. It’s important not to sign such a document unless you are sure that all the legal consequences are in your best interest. To do so, it is best to review that contract with a dental practice lawyer.
Dental Practice Help from a Dental Practice Lawyer
There are many legal issues that one who runs a dental practice will face throughout their career. The legal issues especially arise if you decide to start running your own business.
These range from incorporation to supplier contracts, employee law, and much more. If you happen to be concerned about the legal liability of your practice, it would be best to discuss options that you will have with an experienced dental practice lawyer.