Managing a hospice means taking responsibility for the proper care and treatment of the patients every step of the way. Acts of fraud or negligence can lead to serious consequences for the management of a hospice. Discover the three major types of hospice fraud you should know to avoid problems and provide the highest level of service at all times.
Beware of Billing Fraud
The False Claims Act is meant to deter anyone from trying to defraud any of the government healthcare programs. Anyone can report this fraud, including hospice employees and family members, and loved ones of patients. Plus, the person who reports the fraud will get part of the funds recovered by the government, which motivates people to report acts of billing fraud. Management must consult with an experienced attorney before making any statements regarding potential acts of fraud.
Most false claims in hospices are to Medicaid or Medicare. Lawsuits are costly for hospices, with settlement totaling up to and over one hundred million dollars. One example of a fraudulent claim can be a hospice ordering supplies or medication for a patient who does not really need them. Another example is a hospice asking a patient to pay out-of-pocket expenses that were already reimbursed by Medicaid, Medicare, or a private insurance company. When these acts of fraud are reported, hospices need to answer for them and pay a settlement. Preventing billing fraud helps hospices avoid unnecessary costs and maintain a trusted brand.
Avoid Abuse and Improper Care
One of the most notable acts of fraud committed by hospice teams is the abuse of patients. Studies have revealed up to 80 percent of hospices providing services to Medicare beneficiaries were accused of improper care. Of these facilities, each had at least one deficiency that could support an allegation of fraud against the company. Abusive acts hurt patients and put hospices at risk of facing a costly lawsuit. Consider some examples of improper care that should be avoided to minimize the possibility of being accused of fraud due to abuse.
One example is a hospice reducing the number of visits to a patient’s home, which means giving less care to the patient than required. And, it is considered insufficient to handle treatment on the phone rather than in person. Another situation to consider is how hospices are paid per diem. This payment means they get a fixed amount of money per patient for each day the patient is enrolled at the facility. In essence, this rewards the hospices that provide fewer services to more patients. Other acts to watch are ordering the wrong amounts of medication for patients to save money or allowing licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to perform work they are not allowed or qualified to do.
When hospices offer an incentive to entities referring patients to the facilities, it can be defined as a kickback. These schemes become expensive for hospices and their partners in these acts. Paying to get patients can lead to accusations of fraud and bring down the reputation of the hospice. The quality of care is compromised when a facility pays to get patients rather than providing the highest level of care to attract them to the hospice.
An example of a kickback is a hospice that gives supplies or other valuable items to a nursing home for referring patients to the facility. Another potentially fraudulent occurrence is providing nursing services to a nursing home that is already getting Medicare payments for such services. Hospices also cannot pay physicians for referring patients. Any of these actions could put the hospice in a position to defend itself against acts of fraud.
Guarding Against Acts of Fraud
Hospice management must be aware of these three significant acts of fraud to ensure the staff does not commit any of them. Ignorance is never a defense, especially when it comes to providing proper care to patients in need. Management must establish a system of checks and balances to verify procedures are followed at all times. Training the staff and monitoring its actions are crucial to prevent fraudulent activity.
Patents and their families rely on the hospice staff to provide care and guidance during a difficult time in their lives. They trust the hospice to handle everything from billing to make a patient’s final moments comfortable. Anything less adds more stress to an already difficult situation. The staff should understand the right way to handle billing, patient care, and patient referrals to eliminate the possibility of being accused of fraud.
Dealing with Acts of Fraud
Staff members who commit acts of fraud must be identified and terminated from employment. Hospices depend on having a trustworthy reputation for attracting patients to the facility. Anything less means the hospice is losing money and could face lawsuits for committing acts of fraud. Patients and their loved ones are vulnerable during these days and rely on the hospice team to take care of everything as they spend their final moments together.
When a hospice is served with a lawsuit, the first step is consulting with a reputable attorney who understands these matters. Usually, the initial consultation is free, and companies find out useful information to move forward successfully. Having an attorney defend the hospice can mean the difference between paying out thousands of dollars and maintaining a trustworthy reputation as a facility patient can depend on.
With a large number of chronic conditions that impact lives, hospices are there to help patients remain comfortable during their final days. Patients and their families depend on the hospice team to handle everything with honesty and care. Anything less makes a troubling time in their lives even more frustrating and difficult. When people are displeased, they take action against the facility.
Training the staff and managing the team closely helps hospices avoid acts of fraud. If a lawsuit is filed, management must consult with an experienced attorney immediately. Avoiding the situation makes it worse and can lead to further accusations of fraud. If your hospice was accused of fraud, you’re not alone. Get legal representation to make things right and continue helping patients for years to come.
Personal Injury vs Bodily Injury: What’s the Difference?
Have you suffered an injury at work, in a motor vehicle accident, at home, or in your community? If so, you’re not alone. Many Americans suffer personal injury or bodily injury each year.
In 2018, 4.5 million people received medical treatment for motor vehicle accidents. Another 4.6 million workers required medical care for on-the-job injuries. A surprising 37.6 million people received injuries in homes or the community that needed medical consultations.
You may wonder if your suffering meets the definition of personal or bodily injury. Keep reading to find out.
Definition of Personal Injury
The legal definition of personal injury isn’t restricted to physical harm. It does include negligence which may include an injury to the body.
Personal injury often involves harm to a person’s property or reputation. Most cases require a legally-liable relationship between the victim and the accused.
Definition of Bodily Injury
Bodily or physical injury describes harm to a person’s body. According to 18 USC § 831(g)(5), the injury can include:
- Abrasions, bruises, burns, cuts, or disfigurement
- Impaired function to a part of the body or organ
- Impaired mental ability
- Physical pain
It may also involve other injuries regardless of how long it lasts.
How Are Personal Injury or Bodily Injury Different?
Why is it important to understand the difference between personal and bodily injury? The type of injury impacts the handling of insurance claims and legal actions.
For example, umbrella policies often define and cover bodily injuries in the same way. This includes commercial, commercial auto, and general liability umbrella policies. They cover injuries to clients while on the premises or receiving services.
Some insurance companies include mental anguish coverage as a type of bodily injury. They may not require any physical damage as part of the mental injury.
Insurance companies also define personal injury as anything that harms a person’s reputation. Legal definitions of personal injury may include physical and/or other types of harm.
Understanding Personal and Bodily Injury Claims
The legal term “tort” describes an act or omission that results in harm to another person. An “injury”, defined in the context of torts, means any invasion of legal rights that causes harm. “Harm” describes a loss or “detriment in fact” suffered by a person.
Every tort claim involves two issues: liability and damages. It doesn’t matter if the damage was negligent, intentional, or only liability.
The court must determine if the defendant is liable for the damages to the alleged victim. If this is true, the next ruling addresses the type and extent of the damage.
If you have experienced a personal or bodily injury, ask an attorney for advice. At Veron Bice Palermo & Wilson, we’ll guide you through the post-injury process. Our experts make sure you get all the financial compensation you’re entitled to.
Attorneys also assist with managing medical bills and lost wages from the injury. They will work with the insurance company as well. This means that you can spend your time recovering.
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What is Intellectual Property and How Do You Know If Its Protected?
In business, your brand is your most important asset. Accordingly, you must use every legal remedy available to ensure that it’s protected.
If you own a business, your intellectual property may one day serve as the most valuable asset for your company—if it isn’t already. For this reason, it’s important to take steps to secure your intellectual property as soon as possible.
For example, Amazon is one company that’s getting it right. Over the past ten years, the massive online retailer has expanded its patent portfolio from 1,000 patents to close to 10,000.
Early on, Amazon realized the importance of protecting intellectual property to help support company goals. Likewise, it’s important to protect your intellectual property right from the start. However, you might wonder, “What is intellectual property?”
To learn more about intellectual property and how to protect it, keep reading.
What Is Intellectual Property?
In the purest sense, intellectual property is an asset that you create with your mind. These assets might include:
• Visual art
• Written content
Depending on the medium, you’d file for a copyright, patent, or trademark to protect your intellectual property. All these protections fall under the umbrella of intellectual property law. You’d file an application for protection with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
United States Patent and Trademark Office copyright law gives intellectual property owners the freedom to express ideas. Patent laws protect the processes and methods of concepts. Meanwhile, trademark law protects the name and branding of creations.
Copyright and trademark laws promote an environment of creativity and innovation. The laws protect creators by granting exclusive control of intangible assets.
As an entrepreneur, your most valuable resources are time and money. If you operate a small business, intellectual property may not serve as one of your top priorities—at least not yet.
Most people think intellectual property is only a concern for large companies. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
As a small-to-medium-sized business owner, it’s important to acquire intellectual property ownership rights to protect your products and ideas. By securing your intellectual property rights now, you can safeguard opportunities in the future.
Is Your Intellectual Property Safe?
It’s important to protect your intellectual property. By doing so, you can ensure that it isn’t stolen.
There are a few common tactics that you can use to protect your intellectual property rights. These tactics include.
• Avoidance of joint intellectual property ownership
• Business, domain, and product name registration
• Confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements
• Copyright, trademark, and patent registration
• Cybersecurity measures
When people think about intellectual property protection, they most often think of copyrights, trademarks, and patents. These tools grant you an exclusive right to your creations.
However, there are other ways to protect ideas associated with your business. For example, you can register your business name in some municipalities.
It’s also a good idea to register your domain name, even if you don’t plan to launch a website. Eventually, you’ll want to establish an online presence.
However, some malicious actors make a career out of buying domain names that people didn’t think to protect. If this happens to you, you may have to pay a hefty fee or court fees to secure the rights to your own domain name.
On occasion, you’ll need to discuss points of your business that are sensitive. In this case, it’s important to establish a confidentiality or nondisclosure agreement. This kind of agreement is a binding contract where parties agree to keep the details of your discussions a secret.
Today, nearly every business does some part of their business online. Unfortunately, malicious actors take advantage of this access point. Resultantly, it’s important to secure your business network.
Finally, it’s possible for more than one person to create a single intellectual property. However, it’s best to avoid this kind of situation at all costs.
Joint ownership of a trademark product or any intellectual property is complicated. Ultimately, this kind of arrangement can create more problems than it solves.
Why It’s Important to Protect Intellectual Property
Over the last year, there’s been an explosion of counterfeit products entering the market. Counterfeit products represent only a small percentage of global trade.
Nevertheless, these illicit goods generate more than $1 billion in sales in America alone. For this reason, there’s been a considerable uptick in online reviews containing terms such as fake or counterfeit.
In some cases, counterfeiters duplicate products minutes after they’re released. This unfortunate occurrence happens commonly on sites such as Amazon and Etsy.
Counterfeiters take advantage of these kinds of platforms because they don’t screen sellers. Meanwhile, consumers have no idea they’re purchasing counterfeit goods.
Counterfeit products can do more than eat into your profit. They can pose a serious risk to consumers.
The government does not vet counterfeit products. For this reason, it’s highly likely that they’re unsafe for use.
Furthermore, consumers can fall victim to identity theft when purchasing counterfeit goods from unscrupulous retailers. When this happens, consumers are quick to leave negative online reviews. For this reason, counterfeit products can result in serious damage to your brand reputation.
Securing Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents
It seems relatively straightforward to apply for a copyright, trademark, or patent. However, the process is considerably complex. You must make many legal decisions as you navigate the application.
Without experience, you can make unnecessary errors and have to pay expensive refiling fees. You may even find that your intellectual property application gets rejected.
It’s possible that you’re only considering protecting your intellectual property. Alternatively, someone may have infringed on your intellectual property rights. In either case, you can benefit from the experience of a trademark attorney.
Not all applications to register a trademark, copyright, or patent get approved. With a trademark attorney on your side, however, you’ll increase your chances of securing an intellectual property registration. Furthermore, a trademark attorney can help you submit your application quickly and efficiently.
Stay Informed About What Matters
Now you’ve learned the answer to the question, “What is intellectual property?” You also know more about how to protect intellectual property rights.
When it comes to running a business, however, there are always new things to discover. Accordingly, it helps to have a resource for the latest news, tips, and trends to help you run your business smoothly. Visit our business section for more great articles to help you get a leg up on the competition.
What to Consider When Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney
We all put ourselves at some degree of risk whenever we leave our homes. Accidents do happen, and sometimes they can result in injuries serious enough to alter the course of our lives.
If you’ve been injured as the result of another person or entity’s negligence, it’s essential that you get the compensation you deserve. Hiring a personal injury attorney is a key way to do this.
Hiring the right person for your case can make all the difference. If you’ve never hired an attorney before, how can you be sure you’re bringing on the right person for the job? Read on and we’ll walk you through everything that you need to know.
Experience and Background
When it comes to hiring an attorney, there’s little more important to consider than that individual’s background. You’ll want someone who has been practicing law for a significant amount of time and who has extensive experience handling cases just like yours.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’ll want someone with a rich history of handling car accident cases, and so forth as it pertains to other types of injuries.
This experience will mean that an attorney will know exactly what actions need to be taken, what evidence needs to be gathered, and how best to present your case to a judge. This experience is literally priceless.
Most attorneys will be happy to provide this kind of information to you if asked. You can take a look at an attorney’s website to help get a sense of their background.
Rely on Referrals
If you’re like many Americans, you likely trust the word of those closest to you above any other sort of information. It makes sense that those who know and care about you could be trusted to have your best interests at heart.
That’s why going to these people to inquire about legal help is actually a great move. If there is anyone in your personal circle who has been in a similar legal situation, you should speak with them as soon as possible.
Inquire about what attorney they had on their case if they were pleased with the service they provided, and what the outcome was. There’s a good chance if they were thrilled with an attorney that you might have a similar experience.
They can refer you to this attorney and it can be a great way to land someone solid.
Personality and Care
Outside of all the qualifications you should look at when hiring an attorney, you also need to take into account an individual’s personality. You’re going to be spending a great deal of time with this individual. You’re going to need to rely on them and trust them during a difficult period.
If, when you first sit down with an attorney, you get the sense that you’re not going to be able to do that with this person, it could be a major red flag.
If they seem jaded, disinterested in your case, or simply not a good fit for your own personality, it might be worth looking to hire someone else.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
There are a great many reasons to hire a personal injury attorney, but it can be difficult to determine who is the best for your case. The above tips and tricks can help you land someone who will get your case to where it needs to go.
Need more legal advice? Keep scrolling our blog for more.
Spouse Cheated? Here Are Your Legal Rights
Every 36 seconds two people who once vowed to love each other until death, end their marriage. That averages out to about 149 divorces per 1000 marriages.
A large percentage of those marriages ended because the spouse cheated. There are laws that protect spouses in this case, and you need to know what to do.
Knowing how to protect yourself from the actions of a cheating spouse saves you further heartache down the road. You don’t have to worry about your well-being if you decide to end the marriage.
If they leave you for the other person, you don’t have to agonize about them getting away with it. In some cases, the punishment for infidelity is more than a little alimony.
Finding out that your spouse cheated is more than horrifying. It crushes your spirit. Here’s what you need to know legally to help you emotionally.
If Your Spouse Cheated, You Can Put Them in Jail
In quite a few states in the US, marriage law is heavily influenced by religion. So much so, that you can get up to five years of prison time for cheating.
States like Oklahoma have zero tolerance for people who disrespect their marriage vows. It’s a felony punishable by jail time. The judge may opt to fine the guilty party $500, or both—jail and the fine.
Other states like Mississippi, Illinois, and Hawaii also consider cheating a crime. Mississippi and Hawaii have Alienation of Affection laws that date back to 1926. Break this law and your spouse could spend a year locked up or pay a hefty fine.
Study the laws in your state pertaining to infidelity, because cheating affects a divorce.
Did Spouse Spend Money on His Affair Partner?
If you noticed your spouse spent money on their lover, you can get it back in some cases.
In community property states, any money accumulated during the marriage belongs to both people. Both of you have an equal right to every dime.
When a spouse takes what equally belongs to you and spends it on an affair, you can demand reimbursement. The courts require tangible proof—bank statements and receipts. Once you have proof, you can make the cheater pay up in the divorce settlement.
Automatic Custody of the Kids
Regardless of how hard you try to shield your children, an affair will affect them. Although you’re the victim, that doesn’t secure automatic full custody of the kids.
That might be a hard pill to swallow.
In a divorce that involves children, the court looks out for the overall well-being of the kids. The spouse’s cheating behavior towards you doesn’t speak on their ability to parent. Some cheaters are great parents.
Please be aware of this if you file for divorce. Infidelity doesn’t secure full custody.
Know Your Rights
If your spouse cheated, you don’t have to take the short end of the stick. You have rights. Use this guide to refer to your state’s rules on infidelity and fight to get your dignity back.
We have more tips like this to help you on your journey. Check out our lifestyle guide for more ideas on life and love.
A Quick Guide to All Types of Lawyers You Should Know
If you are someone that finds all things relating to the law a little bit daunting, you are probably not alone. Legal issues can be very complicated. Laws change often, and there are many different legal grey areas that need lawyers and judges to deliberate over.
Because the law is complicated, you may well need the support of a lawyer when you are dealing with any legal matters. There are several types of attorneys. Knowing the different attorney specialties can be helpful to know that you are approaching and hiring the right types of lawyers for your case.
But what are the common lawyer specialties?
Here are all types of lawyers you should know.
What Is a Criminal Lawyer?
A criminal lawyer is someone that practices criminal law. A criminal lawyer is one of the most popular types of lawyers.
Criminal law is the body of law relating to crimes. Crimes are behaviors or actions which are illegal according to federal or state law. A crime is punishable by probation, imprisonment, or fines. A crime can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Other areas of criminal law include local ordinances, minor traffic violations, and infractions. These are punishable by a fine. Often, this type of case is relatively simple and can be handled by the individual without the help of a lawyer.
Certain traffic violations could result in more serious punishment, such as the loss or suspension of a driver’s license. In these situations, a lawyer should handle the case.
A criminal case will usually involve a defendant, defense attorney, and a prosecutor. A criminal lawyer is often referred to as a defense attorney. The defendant can hire this type of lawyer, or the court will appoint one to defend someone.
In cases where the potential punishments are more severe, a criminal lawyer is often necessary. The lawyer can provide advice on the consequences of the conviction.
Where you are unable to afford a defense attorney, the court will appoint one to act on your behalf.
Find out more about hiring a criminal lawyer here.
What Is a Civil Lawyer?
Civil law includes many different areas of the law. Almost all non-criminal matters are included in civil law. Civil law often refers to private issues including litigation, transactions, business contracts, suing another party, real estate, and dealing with contract disputes.
Civil cases differ from criminal cases because there is no need to determine whether someone is guilty or innocent. Often, parties might recover financial damages. In other cases, it may be possible to obtain an injunction, which is a court order preventing someone from doing something.
Another popular area of civil law is the personal injury lawsuit. In cases such as these, a person is badly injured following an accident, either mentally, physically, or both. A court may award damages to the plaintiff in the form of money.
There is no doubt that civil law is a complex area. A failure to follow the rules of the local court could even lead to financial sanctions from the court or the dismissal of your case. It can be very helpful to have a lawyer on your side in these matters.
You should also seek out the assistance of a lawyer even when you are drafting a contract or purchasing real estate. A lawyer will ensure that all contracts are correctly drawn up.
What Is a Family Lawyer?
Family law relates to anything that involves family matters. This could include marriage, divorce, child support, adoption, custody, and finding out who the child’s true parents are. In marriages where a prenuptial agreement is required, this should be looked over by a lawyer beforehand.
Divorce can be tough on all parties, especially when there are children, a lot of property and money, or businesses involved. Having a family lawyer to represent all parties will ensure that all of their rights are protected.
A lawyer can make sure that an individual gets everything that they are entitled to in their state. This may include child support, alimony, custody, and visitation rights.
What Is a Probate and Estate Planning Lawyer?
A probate lawyer handles legal matters relating to probate and probating wills, as well as guardianship, emancipation, and conservatorship.
Probating a will involves sharing out property following a death. Guardianship refers to when an adult is appointed to care for a minor or the property of a minor such as a trust fund.
Emancipation happens when a child is given an adult’s rights, and conservatorship happens when an adult is appointed as a carer for someone who is unable to care for another.
Many individuals understand will and estate planning. Estate planning will often involve the drafting of a will before a person passes away. This may mean creating trust funds with money for children.
It is important that you get an experienced probate lawyer to handle all matters relating to wills and probate, particularly where there is a large sum of money or property involved.
All Types of Lawyers You Should Know
Whenever you have a legal matter that needs addressing, it is important to seek out the best advice possible. This is where a lawyer can come in very handy. Often, the right lawyer is a necessity.
Knowing all types of lawyers can be helpful as it will allow you to find an attorney with the right specialism for you.
For more informative articles, make sure that you explore the rest of the site.
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