Representation of Medical Professionals
Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun, a Palm Beach County health care law firm, has been representing physicians throughout Florida for more than 30 years. Under Florida Statute Section 458.320, most physicians have to satisfy their "financial responsibility" if they do not carry malpractice insurance by having the ability to pay up to $250,000 in the event of a successful malpractice judgment and failing to do so may result in a loss of their license to practice in Florida, which would be reportable to the national database.
The practice of medicine nationally, but especially in Florida, has evolved dramatically over the last three decades. Back in the 1980s, many physicians would refuse to accept any payment tied to the Medicare reimbursement rate. Now, however, many physicians are lucky to get reimbursed 100% of the applicable Medicare amount. Since the 1980s, physicians in Florida have endured at least three major "malpractice crises." The familiar theme in each crisis is that physicians were unable to purchase malpractice insurance at an affordable rate, or in some cases, not able to purchase malpractice insurance at all.
Although medical malpractice insurance is more affordable today than during the years of the various "crises," many physicians have explored other options such as offshore captive insurance plans, prepaid legal plans and hybrid insurance plans. It is noteworthy that most captive insurance plans are not licensed in Florida, so a physician utilizing a captive insurance plan is still considered "bare" in Florida.
Work with a Palm Beach County Health Care Law Firm to Meet Malpractice Requirements Under Florida Law
Ultimately, the repeated malpractice insurance crises led many physicians to go "bare" in their practice and in essence "self-insure." If a physician is bare, or self-insured, that physician must adhere to additional requirements set forth under Florida Statute Section 458.320 such as posting a conspicuous sign in their lobby stating the following:
"Under Florida law, physicians are generally required to carry medical malpractice insurance or otherwise demonstrate financial responsibility to cover potential claims for medical malpractice. YOUR DOCTOR HAS DECIDED NOT TO CARRY MEDICAL MALPRACTICE INSURANCE. This is permitted under Florida law subject to certain conditions. Florida law imposes penalties against noninsured physicians who fail to satisfy adverse judgments arising from claims of medical malpractice. This notice is provided pursuant to Florida law."
It is axiomatic that physicians have a far greater chance of being sued than most. As such, it is also important that physicians structure their assets in a protected fashion.
Medical Practice Planning and Structuring
Another major change over the last decade is that physicians practice in large groups, often owned by hospitals and large corporations. Solo and smaller practices are less common because of shrinking reimbursement and rising expenses. A careful analysis of medical practice options is essential including a review of any transaction where a physician merges or sells their practice or joins an existing practice.
For example, many of the larger entities insist upon oppressive non-competition provisions that could require a physician to uproot their family and move out of town. In addition to representing medical professionals, we help doctors structure their assets to protect themselves and their loved ones from potential creditors. Our Palm Beach County health care law firm also advises medical professionals during the sale of their practice.
Work with a Florida and Palm Beach County Health Care Law Firm
For more information on how to navigate medical malpractice insurance and other professional concerns contact Comiter, Singer, Baseman & Braun, a Florida and Palm Beach County health care law firm either online or by calling us at 561-626-2101 or toll free at 800-226-1484. We work with physicians and medical professionals throughout the state of Florida, including those in Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton.