Why does the word ‘government’ seem to invoke mixed feelings when we hear it? In simple terms, government is supposed to be there to protect us from those negative antics that happen if we are not careful. We must have an authority that sets standards for everyone to comply with rules and regulations, but interestingly there are many different rules all within our own government which vary from state to state, commonwealth to commonwealth and locality to locality. Let’s take a look at what the federal and state/ commonwealth governmental regulations consist of in our industry:
These laws include, but are not limited to:
• Minimum wage and hour standards as well as paid time off (PTO) set by both federal and state regulations.
• Workers’ compensation standards (set by states).
• Health insurance (rates are set and approved by state insurance commissions).
• Occupational safety and health (OSHA) set by federal guidelines.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
HIPAA encompasses the federal government laws set to protect the rights and privacy of individual’s protected health information (PHI). Specific standards have been in place since its inception in 1996 and are not optional. Failure to follow these guidelines can create severe monetary civil penalties from the federal government in addition to the lawsuits than can evolve from the patients whose PHI was violated.
State Regulations Regarding Who May Perform Services
There are different regulations from state to state on who may perform medical services even under the direction of a medical director. While in many states a registered nurse (RN) may inject dermal fillers, neurotoxins and perform laser treatments, nonetheless they may not in other states. A good faith exam must still be performed by a non-RN licensed medical professional such as a physician assistant (PA), nurse practitioner (NP), or medical doctor (MD or DO).
Example: In Fla., only a PA, NP, MD or DO may perform these services with the exception of laser hair removal. An aesthetician with an electrologist certification may perform laser hair removal treatment, but only under the guidance of a good faith exam performed d by the above licensed medical professionals.
State Regulations Regarding Who May Own a Medical Practice
The rules vary from state to state. Corporate Practice of Medicine (CPOM) law defines that persons without a medical license are prohibited from employing physicians or owning a medical practice with a physician to provide medical services.
Example: In Texas, a physician must own 100% of the medical practice while in Calif. a physician must own 51% and another licensed medical professional may own the remaining shares.
In Fla., a corporation or non-licensed medical professional may own a medical practice as long as it is not registered as a Professional Association, Professional Corporation or Professional LLC.
In conclusion, always be sure to check with your state and federal authorities to see how your practice is affected by regulatory guidelines. Being judicious in the beginning can save you time and headaches on the back end.