Criminal Defense For Doctors Throughout West Palm Beach
As a doctor, you calmly confront on a daily basis things that rattle the rest of us — blood, open wounds, life and death situations, contagious diseases. Nonetheless, you are likely to fear being accused of a crime even more than the population at large because your profession puts you at special risk. Being accused of committing any kind of crime not only exposes you to the possibility of substantial fines and extended prison time, but directly threatens your career and livelihood.
At Herman Law, P.A. we are determined defenders of the rights of medical professionals. Our lead attorney, Ron Herman, has outstanding credentials, is admitted in both state and federal courts, and is highly rated by a number of national law organizations. Because he formerly worked as a prosecutor, he has a keen perspective on strategies the opposing team may use, giving our side a unique advantage.
From our office in West Palm Beach, Herman Law serves clients in Palm Beach, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties and throughout South Florida. The doctors we have successfully defended from criminal charges will gladly testify not only to our legal prowess but to our personal concern for our clients.
Types of Criminal Offenses We Defend Doctors Against
Beyond medical malpractice charges that frequently threaten physicians, there are many criminal offenses doctors may be accused of and arrested for. These include the following, all of which our criminal defense firm is experienced in handling:
As a physician you may be charged with referring patients to specialists, treatment or diagnostic centers, stores that sell prosthetic or orthotic devices, or even pharmacies who in turn pay you kickbacks for such referrals.
Physicians may be accused of a variety of types of healthcare fraud, but the crime basically comes down to billing private insurance providers or governmental insurance providers, like Medicaid and Medicare for either unnecessary medical services or services that were never performed. It may also include billing for “ghost” patients, billing for unnecessary services or simply charging too much for services provided. Such actions, typically investigated by the DEA or DOJ, are federal offenses and are taken very seriously.
In the medical profession, self-referrals can be seen as a way for doctors to pad their own pockets by referring their patients to healthcare services or facilities that they themselves own or have a financial interest in. Doctors accused of self-referrals, like those accused of kickbacks, are charged with referring patients to services that are beneficial to the physicians themselves rather than to their patients. The federal statute prohibiting this type of profiteering is known as the Stark Law.
When doctors are accused of drug diversion, it is alleged that they have misused their authority to prescribe or provide prescription drugs. They may be accused of providing drugs to a patient known to be “doctor shopping,” collaborating with drug dealers or traffickers, or running their own drug dealing enterprise while using their medical office as a front.
RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) is an acronym most often associated with organized crime, but it may also be used to describe healthcare providers who conspire with other physicians and lay people to commit healthcare fraud.
Criminal Defense Strategies for Doctors
If you have been accused of one of the crimes listed above, we know how overwhelmed you must feel. Putting yourself in our capable hands will help alleviate your stress. Once you consult with us you will find us competent and compassionate. We are not only experienced, but savvy in courtroom tactics, knowing precisely how to best implement them in your defense. Remember, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. We need only create a reasonable doubt to exonerate you. Examples of how we may defend you are these:
Justification for Drug Prescriptions
Although you have prescribed many opioid drugs, every patient to whom you prescribed these medications had a condition necessitating the use of strong painkillers — such as cancer, a severe neurological problem, or postsurgical pain.
Strong Reasons for Referring Patients to Particular Specialists or Facilities
You may have recommended a particular physical therapy center owned by a person you know, a member of your family, or even under your ownership, to a number of patients. Unless the prosecution has evidence that you received a direct kickback or that there is a better practitioner you might have referred your patients to, we may be able to question the premise that you acted illegally. It is possible for us to demonstrate that this referral was the one you considered best for your patients in terms of equipment, technicians, or location. The same may be true for referrals to a specialist in another medical discipline. Unless the prosecution can prove that money changed hands, the fact that you are a friend of the other doctor does not mean you do not feel he or she is an expert in the field.
Mistakes Do Happen
Depending on the circumstances, what has been viewed as healthcare fraud or over-billing may simply be series of clerical errors. Busy medical practices, overwhelmed by the number of patients being treated in their office, may inadvertently double-bill a patient or an insurance company. Unless intent to defraud can be proven, the case will be dismissed.
Lack of Evidence
Legal matters are decided on the basis of facts, not suspicions or assumptions. Unless the prosecution can prove that you have committed the crime they are accusing you of, we can always assert that there is reasonable doubt.
The More Quickly You Come to Herman Law, the More Effective We Can Be
If you are a doctor who has been accused of a crime, it is crucial that you consult with our criminal defense attorneys as quickly as possible. The more time we have to gather and examine evidence, interview witnesses, and work out a compelling defense strategy, the more likely we are to win your case. Please get in touch with us by phone or by filling out a contact form on our website as soon as you realize you are in trouble.