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Consultant & Lawyer Fatigue No More! Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Cohen | Florida Healthcare Law Firm   
Sunday, 11 June 2017 00:00

Healthcare regulatory compliance is often performed by consultants who are not lawyers. This can create tension between the professionals, since they may see the same issue differently. Moreover, since healthcare consultants often deliver their services directly to clients (not through healthcare legal counsel), the process loses the protection of the attorney client privilege.

Clients might not appreciate the need for both consultant and legal services, especially given the expense. And many times lawyers will likely tell their clients they lack the expertise to weigh in on the consultant's service, which can leave all parties feeling like they are working without a net. Additionally, many consultants are rare enough to have to be brought in from out of state. Which may lead to them providing terrific federal compliance guidance and missing issues of state law based regulatory compliance altogether. Moreover, given the web of healthcare regulatory compliance requirements, it's easy for a client to think their coding consultant is all they need.

It's just unrealistic to expect a healthcare professional or healthcare business to even know all the questions to ask. The fact is there are key differences between legal and regulatory compliance and legal and regulatory consultants. They bring difference experiences and unique perspectives to the table. And misunderstanding the gap between the different regulatory landscapes they cover can create serious gaps in compliance and liability for healthcare providers and healthcare businesses.

The best possible product for a healthcare client will involve BOTH expert consulting in a specific area and also expert healthcare legal counsel review and input. Given the risks associated with missing issues like HIPAA, self-referral, kickback, brokering and current "environmental factors," clients can't afford to oversimplify their legal and regulatory compliance  processes. Without the combination, the consulting process is vulnerable to scrutiny and risky gaps.

Someone once said something like "To a carpenter, everything is a nail." We all tend to view challenges and solutions in our work world through a perspective of specific (and limited) experience. It's therefore essential to healthcare professionals and businesses that they have around their table people who collectively bring the broadest applicable perspective and experience to ask the right questions, the ones clients may not even know to ask. A HIPAA expert, for instance, will dig deep into the patient privacy issue, but may not think to ask about exposure the client may have to payers. A coding expert would likely not think to inquire about or identify exposure on issues related to self-referral, or safe harbor compliance.

The best possible legal and regulatory compliance product for a healthcare client is one that blends expert consulting services with expert healthcare legal compliance.

With over 30 years of healthcare law experience, Mr. Cohen is board certified by The Florida Bar as a specialist in healthcare law.  With a strong background and expertise in healthcare law corporate matters, particularly as they relate to healthcare professionals and businesses, Mr. Cohen’s practice immerses him and the lawyers of the firm in regulatory, contract, corporate and compliance.  As Founder of The Florida Healthcare Law Firm, he has distinguished himself and his firm for providing exceptional legal services with the right pricing, responsiveness and ethics. He can be reached at

Last Updated on Monday, 12 June 2017 18:34

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