Medical Billing Forum

General Category => General Questions => Topic started by: TxJFP on March 16, 2011, 11:30:35 AM

Title: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: TxJFP on March 16, 2011, 11:30:35 AM
I have met with an attorney regarding the legalities when running a business, in this case a medical billing business, BUT it'll cost me $200.00/hr for my lawyer to type up a rough draft of the contract and compliance plan. Could I just type it myself and spend another $100.00/hr to just sit with her and make sure it's precisely done to hand out when in the process signing up a doctor...?  Any suggestions...?
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: QueenAlicia on March 16, 2011, 12:19:18 PM
I have typed mine up but still need a lawyer to look over it.  Maybe the lawyer could look over it and add suggestions for verbage and what not.
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: TxJFP on March 16, 2011, 03:40:44 PM
Yeah that's what I was thinking.
I feel that I have gone over a reasonable amount of possibilities the first time around and by e-mail, that she will now of me in case other questions/concerns arise.
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: PMRNC on March 16, 2011, 08:22:43 PM
$200 an hour is actually pretty average.. Attorney's and Legal practices are bound to provide you with a complete and accurate itemized bill which includes everything from phone calls to research to typing. With that said for example if your attorney estimates it will take 4 hours to produce that's not bad..It's an expense well paid! On the other hand if he tells you it will be 12 hours, then I would shop around. What I wouldn't do is NOT have an attorney go over it.   What I did was negotiate with my attorney. Since the one I chose HAD experience in this area and was going to be doing "my compliance" I asked him if he was going to stand behind it.  With that I paid him a retainer and it covered my compliance plan, review of and he would stand behind it in case of any issues :) Also included was my contracts and again, he would stand behind them.  Getting an attorney to provide these for you is not as important as the one who will stand behind it. Don't look at just the cost of some paper put together, look for an attorney who is willing to put his reputation on the line for it, that's worth more than having it drafted. You can most certainly make the costs less by doing your own and having them just go over it and make revisions with you.   Also.. remember your compliance plan is to be customized to YOUR company. Having an attorney draft up a set of compliance regs does NOT make you compliant, so in reality who should actually create the compliance plan??.. YOU. It's your business. You have the attorney review it, make suggestions, look for legal regs for your state and make sure it meets federal guidelines as well.  If you have him draft it and you have not made the efforts or put forth the costs and services to be compliant, your compliance plans isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Sit down with the OIG's compliance for third party billers and go along with it, make your company compliant, put it together and let the attorney worry about the verbiage!    Do not skimp costs in this area.
Also I know a lot of billing companies who hire pre-paid legal services.. please do your research carefully as they are NOT as legally obliged as a private law firm.
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: Michele on March 17, 2011, 06:54:42 AM
That is the reason we wrote our contracts book.  So that people could have an idea of what to cover in the contract before going to the attorney.  It is crucial to have the attorney do the final copy and make sure you've covered all your bases and it's all legal, but you need to decide what you want to cover and how you want it covered.

You can get more info at:  http://www.medicalbillinglive.com/medical-billing-service-contract.shtml

Michele
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: QueenAlicia on March 17, 2011, 02:00:01 PM
I have read the contract book several times. I have written my contract and it is about 8 pgs long so far.  I am taking it to an attorney soon so that I can have them insert verbage and look over it to make sure I am covered.  I think it's hard when you don't have an example of an actual contract with proper verbage.  Yes, the attorney's are going to cover this portion but I think I got stuck on verbage and what not.
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: Alice Scott on March 18, 2011, 04:53:55 AM
If you knew the verbage, you wouldn't need the lawyer.
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: Michele on March 18, 2011, 08:07:52 AM
I wouldn't get hung up on getting the verbage right before you take it to the attorney.  What's important is that you spell out what you want and how you want it handled, then the attorney puts it into the correct legal wording.  That's why it's important to have the attorney.  So that they can make sure it's worded correctly to accomplish what you want.  We purposely didn't include verbage because we aren't lawyers and each situation varies so much that the verbage would be impossible to include.

Michele
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: QueenAlicia on March 18, 2011, 07:01:20 PM
If you knew the verbage, you wouldn't need the lawyer.

This is true.  I like to be hands on and know and understand the document I am putting together since this business is my livelyhood.  I learn from reading things over several times and having a hard copy of something to use an example.  The book didn't have an example of verbage for each section or a sample/samples of contracts for this type of business. What was suggested in the book were good examples. This would have helped for those who don't have a clue on starting this type of business.  I don't have time to go get another degree or a certificate in paralegal or any other type of laws/rules/contracts etc.  It's obvious you guys aren't lawyers and wouldn't want people saying, "this is what they said to put in the contract," or "this is what they recommend because they know the legal side of this business" or any other wording that would cause someone sue you.  I've gotten questions from other newbies so I am stating my opinion and the questions I've been asked.
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: PMRNC on March 19, 2011, 10:00:01 AM
Your lawyer should be doing more than just inserting verbiage. His job is to make sure the verbiage is backed up and within line of state and federal guidelines. For example, maybe in your state you cannot charge interest on a percentage (late charges). Or maybe in your state you cannot act in accordance with a collection agency, etc. One of the most important questions you should ask when he gives you your approval would be "If i were to hire or retain you, I assume you would stand behind this contract, compliance plan in a court of law?"  It's the same thing as the accountant who signs your tax return, they should be able to handle an audit or anything pertaining to that tax return.
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: TxJFP on March 19, 2011, 03:52:36 PM
I have read at least 5 of your books (if I may say they have been extremely helpful  ;) ] BUT the main concern is that I do not want to spend someone that may have gone to law school 200.00/hr to type something that is just a rough draft. Now if it were a hard copy with me not having to re-read and trusting they know what to inlcude, ok then, I wouldn't mind paying that much. I included to my lawyer the percentage pricing, the only thing she mentioned was, "Now I'm going by your expertise and background so I trust that using a percentage per month is valid...?" Ok, why didn't she investigate that? We went over the Secretary of State paperwork and the stuff she said was right, was wrong. I trust in this lawyer, this kind of business is just new to her and actually all local lawyers within this county. She knows and understands my interest. I have paid her enough to feel certain she will do her best to represent me IF anything should go wrong. As for the notes and local regulations, my homework is caught up with all that. I think I've spoken with everyone except Hillary Clinton and Obama haha.
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: PMRNC on March 19, 2011, 06:26:31 PM
Quote
"Now I'm going by your expertise and background so I trust that using a percentage per month is valid...?" Ok, why didn't she investigate that?

This is a Grey area.. It will depend on WHAT your attorney is doing. As for the states that do not allow physicians to enter into any fee-splitting arrangement (percentage based) well, the attorney representing you most likely might be a "contract" lawyer.  My lawyer has worked with physicians and other healthcare professionals. But he's also a whiz with contracts because he has done them from the physicians side, he knows about fee-splitting because he's represented physicians in that area. A general contract lawyer is going to need to rely on you for things within the industry you should know.

I want to say something about samples and get this out of the way. The reason you don't see a reliable entity handing out "samples" is because I feel it's irresponsible. If Michele and Alice were to put a sample in their book, and someone decided to use the sample verbatim (YES YES IT HAPPENS ALL THE DANG TIME) then wouldn't that make them responsible.. and Not just talking legal, I'm talking morally.  I don't give out samples, nor do I give out my contract for a few reasons with the main one being again, it's just irresponsible. JMO.  I understand people like to see the product they are working with..but then we would have way more billers taking the easy way out and really that does our industry NO good.

The best advice I can give people is to get out a piece of paper.. start writing down EVERYTHING that could go wrong, make a list. That list should be somewhere around 3-5 pages.. If it's not, your missing some. See where I'm going with this.  This is exactly what I did. I made a list with all the worst case scenario's I could think of, read some things that had happened to other billers, and I had QUITE a long list. Take that list to an attorney, or not.

Also I think we got off topic as the original poster mentioned them having BOTH the compliance plan and contract included in that price.  And I am still thinking that is a great price.
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: TxJFP on March 19, 2011, 08:39:04 PM
Ok to be honest, I never wanted a sample. When you all wrote the books, it was detailed enough to picture how an individual biller should come up with their own. That list you mentioned, it was stated in the book (like several times along with meeting w/an attorney) and has been thought of and done differently than getting a paper out and putting a column etc. I use white boards and cork boards to help with my ideas. It's apparently caused a slight conflict of proportions from the experienced billing company and upcoming billing companies, my apologies. The thing is, not everyone ran a business for over 15 years previously or have the best credit to get a business loan etc...
The point is, the contract is going to be reviewed by an attorney (whether it being a "contract" attorney or if I drive an hr and a half to find an attorney experienced with physicians in the Houston area) I will get it legalized BEFORE my business becomes more active. It's my last thing and I do intend to do this the right way. I feel if someone wants to write their own and then speak to an attorney, along with their notes and questions, it's still legit (again my opinion)

Thank you all for your input.
Have a good weekend ;)


Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: sierratam on April 21, 2011, 05:11:26 PM
What's the secret to finding an attorney that specializes in Medical Billing? 
Also, one time I phoned a local attorney and he told me he could not help me with my contract because he already represented another Medical Billing Company and thought it would be a conflict of interest.. ??? I thought that was very odd.
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: TxJFP on April 21, 2011, 06:24:04 PM
Hello,

I don't believe there are any secrets to finding a medical billing attorney. Just look up a few, write them down, call to introduce and briefly state what you are in the process of doing. Some have websites to check out and it'll state if they work with company contracts. Luckily, the one I have isn't working with another since it's a small area and no billing service is nearby unless it's closer to Houston/San Antonio, ya know the big places. All you would need to do mainly is just ask. Get their rates for initial visits and check what all you would need to take with you. A bit of advice, be prepared because lawyers are very tough and well can lack patience.

Sorry for not giving out a better answer. It worked for me when i did the above. I made several visits to her so you will be paying a comfortable amount of money depending on the location.

OH and about the last part, that may be another thing to ask when your calling around to the lawyers about whether they can assist you if they already have a medical billing company they represent... That is odd, but then again, there are rules and regulations for them so that they won't get their butts chewed.


GOOD LUCK  ;)
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: QueenAlicia on April 21, 2011, 07:02:30 PM
I am meeting with a general attorney that can help with contracts.  Does it vary by state that they can't represent two companies in the same industry?
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: Michele on April 22, 2011, 07:59:52 AM
I think that is odd.  How can they specialize in it if they can only take one client??  I think I would be grateful for the fact that you can't use them!
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: PMRNC on April 23, 2011, 09:26:34 PM
Quote
What's the secret to finding an attorney that specializes in Medical Billing?
Also, one time I phoned a local attorney and he told me he could not help me with my contract because he already represented another Medical Billing Company and thought it would be a conflict of interest.. Huh I thought that was very odd.

There could be various reasons, none which you will really find out, but there obviously is a conflict of interest if they turn you down, could be a big case they are working on, defending a medical billing company or representing a billing company against something else.. fraud, etc. No real way of knowing until they just say no.

IMO.. if you are ready for the contract part you know your state/fed regs..so you could actually get a general contract attorney, no need for one specializing in medical billing, also there's really no specialty attorneys for "medical billing" Usually they are healthcare attorney's.
Title: Re: Meeting with an Attorney for contract/compliance plan
Post by: Michele on April 24, 2011, 08:45:09 PM
Good points Linda.  Hadn't looked at it that way.  That legal background certainly comes in handy.