Spring 2018
Vol 115.1

LEGAL PERSPECTIVES

State Board Inspections: Is Your Office Ready?

How Will You Fare if the State Board Comes Barreling In?
The Attorney General's Office conceded to us today that there is a "collateral financial incentive" for State Board inspectors to find violations in licensees' offices. What does that mean?  Well, if you have been unlucky enough to experience one of their ambush inspections during peak office hours, and let them in because you think you have to, right then and there, then you know that means unreasonably heavy fines, which can cripple a practice.  However, more bothersome to us is the fact that most inspections where violations are found then prompt subsequent and almost immediate Board inquiries to your practice.

 

Is your office ready?  Do you know what to do if you are next?  Do you know the regulations you are expected to know?  Do you understand the consequences of any violations that are found?  Do you have the financial resources to pay these hefty fines?  Simple changes in the office can make a WORLD of difference for you.  One practice my partner, Nan Gallagher, inspected in October was raided the day after Christmas.  Nan had pulled a large amount of expired drugs off site, locked up their prescription pads, improved their autoclave procedure, and modified their sharps disposal protocols.  While I cannot warranty that I will always find every violation, I am happy to say that this practice received NO citations and, consequently, no fines were levied.  Anyone who knows us knows that THAT makes us incredibly happy.

 

Don't Be Scared, Be Prepared!

The New Jersey State Boards of Medicine and Dentistry have kicked it into high gear over the past 4 months with impromptu "surprise" (a/k/a ambush) visits of medical and dental practices.  From our perspective, there appears to be an enhanced focus on surgical, dermatology, podiatry, and dental practices.  The advice is, DO NOT let them in if they show what they have been showing: badges and a Demand to Inspect citing State Board regulations.  Call our office first, and we will intervene.  We will referee the inspection and ensure that no one is interviewed and no written questions are answered by staff or by you.  What you say can and will be held against you on the spot or at a later date.  These types of verbal or written questions are beyond the scope of a demand to inspect - this does not mean that they cannot subsequently send a subpoena to the practice.

 

Only let inspectors in right away who have Search Warrants.  Helpful tip: those who bring Search Warrants 99.9% of the time come with "guns and dogs".  So, if no Search Warrant, no guns, and no dogs, they should not be allowed into your office without you first seeking legal advice.

 

The State Board's inspectors do not bring Search Warrants.  However, a recent trend demonstrates that State Board inspectors sometimes have been coupling up with criminal authorities (i.e., prosecutors' office detectives) to raid practices with State Board Demands to Inspect and Search Warrants.  In those circumstances, let them in and call us right away.  Gina Campanella's personal cell phone number is: (201) 562-2680.  Call it, and keep calling it, and text Ms. Campanella "912" if necessary (which is our code for one notch more important than 911).

 

Any member of our annual or monthly legal service plans may request a free "Mock State Board Inspection", where we come in, examine the premises, pull anything we see that does not comport with State and Federal regulations or guidelines out of circulation, and make various compliance recommendations.  The inspection includes a vast array of things that Medicare, DEA, OSHA, State Boards and criminal authorities look for when they come to call. HIPAA analysis too, by specific request. If you sign up by December 31st, the Mock State Board Inspection will be free of charge!

Respect The List!

 

Below is a list of things they are looking for (in no particular order):

  • Expired medications, samples, creams, lotions, test tubes, OTC medications
  • Unmarked multi-dose vials
  • Non-compliant sharps containers and sharps disposal measures
  • Improper location of sharps containers
  • HIPAA violations
  • OSHA violations
  • Lack of employment policy & procedure manuals
  • Stark & Antikickback (State & Federal) violations
  • Compliant leases and subleases
  • Lack of equipment maintenance logs
  • Poor sterilization measures
  • X-ray machine violations and protocols
  • Unmarked alcohol / hydrogen peroxide / betadine dispensers or expired bottles of same
  • Sharp items in drawers readily accessible to patients / patients' reach
  • Hours not posted
  • Visible patient sign-in sheets (i.e., they should not be visible)
  • Medical or biomedical items intermingled with foods (i.e., medications, syringes, injectables)
  • Uncleanliness
  • Clutter
  • Improper waste disposal

 

 

The Solution...
At AROC 2018, we will be presenting a Mock SBME Inspection at an education session entitled: Mock State Board Inspection: An Interactive Experience. We encourage all members to take advantage of this unique opportunity! For details, please check out www.aroc.org/2018Agenda for details.

 

Also- our program called The Shield is a prepaid legal services plan being endorsed by and offered through the NJAOPS. Administered by Gallagher Campanella LLC, The Shield offers covered and discounted legal services* to organizations that have contracted with Gallagher Campanella LLC. NJAOPS Members may enroll in the plan for an annual fee.

 

Through the plan, NJAOPS members can obtain a vast array of legal defense services* for a low annual rate. Plan members also receive a 20% discount on all other legal services provided by the Firm.

 

Click here to sign up now, or contact NJAOPS General Counsel, Nan Gallagher to enroll! For more information and to speak with an individual about The Shield plan, please call the plan Hotline, (973) 998-8494, or email us at info@GCHealthLaw.com.

 

*Covered services include:

  • Representation before State & Federal Administrative and Regulatory Agencies
  • EMR and Financial Information Cybersecurity Guidance
  • Internet Profile & "Persona" Management Services
  • Pre-Litigation Employment & Labor Counseling Services and Representation
  • Telephone Consultations with the Firm Partners regarding Legal Issues
  • Annual Premium is $599 per year

 

Note: The Shield is designed as a supplement to, and not a replacement for, professional liability coverage.

 

Attorneys Nan Gallagher and Gina Campanella

Nan Gallagher and Gina Campanella, are partners in thier full-service healthcare law firm, Gallagher Campanella LLC, with offices in Wyckoff and Morristown, New Jersey as well as in Manhattan.  They represent a broad spectrum of clients ranging from individual practitioners and medical practices to organized medical-dental staffs and societies. For more on Gallagher Campanella LLC, go to GCHealthLaw.com or e-mail them at nan@GCHealthLaw.com or gina@GCHealthLaw.com

 

© 2018 New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons

The Journal is the official magazine of the New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons (NJAOPS). NJAOPS is the sixth largest state affiliate of the American Osteopathic Association. NJAOPS represents the interests of more than 4,700 active osteopathic physicians, residents, interns and medical students. Founded in 1901, NJAOPS is one of the most active medical associations in New Jersey with 12 county societies.