In healthcare, contracts are entered into every day. Whether contracts for employment of a physician’s services (or other professional), buy/sell agreements for a clinic, facility or other health care business.
nfortunately, some individuals think they are saving money by avoiding assistance from an experienced health care attorney. Not all attorneys have experience with contract law. And most do not know about the legal pitfalls of going it alone or do it yourself (DIY) when it comes to contract drafting. Even fewer lawyers know all of the issues that can arise in a healthcare contract. We’ve commented about this before on our blog.
The problem usually occurs down the road when someone disputes the language of the contract or attempts to enforce or avoid the contract’s obligations. We find that typically problems arise in the following areas:
1. Employment Contracts—one party, the employer is attempting to get a physician or other professional to sign an agreement that is not in their best interests or even illegal. Or the reverse is true.
2. Buy/Sell Agreements for a Florida Health Care Clinic or Other Facility—these agreements if prepared by an amateur or someone that is not knowledgeable can lead to a whole host of problems and more importantly cost everyone money. We encounter regularly those who either use a form or their local non-Florida lawyer and run afoul of specific licensing provisions that lead to a denial of licensure for the facility or clinic by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) or other government agency.
3. Restrictive Covenants/Non-Compete Agreements—Florida law has specific requirements and limitations on non-compete clauses. We find that careful review of contract language by an experienced lawyer can avoid problems down the road.
4. Asset purchase agreements and other business sales: You’ve worked hard for years to build your business, and now it’s time for you to sell and move on to your next endeavor. Either way, it’s important that there be no surprises, before or after closing.
5. Leases: Whether you are renting space to others, or renting space from a landlord for your own business, it’s important to understand the terms that apply. How long is the rental term and can either party extend that term? Will the tenant be required to have a personal guarantor? On top of that, there are specific rules that apply to health care facilities and organizations.Contracts are the way to do business. Our Firm has the team to review, advise and if necessary draft your contract(s).
Jeff is of counsel to the firm. He has more than twenty-five years’ experience in health care and corporate transactional and regulatory matters, including acquisitions and divestitures, federal and state licensure, and compliance. Jeff’s clients include health care providers such as hospitals, physician practices, and privately held corporations. He represents clients in transactions involving the provision of professional services to licensed healthcare entities, the formation and transfer of licensed healthcare organizations, and the management of licensed entities by business organizations. He also advises clients with respect to business planning, growth, succession, and exit strategies; governance, control, and operational issues; and the impact of state and federal legislation, including anti-self-referral, anti-kickback, Medicare, and HIPAA.
Jeff was formerly a Board Member of the Association for Corporate Counsel, West Central Florida Chapter, and served as both President and Vice President of that organization. He was also a Board Member of the Association for Quality Imaging, a national lobbying organization based in Washington, D.C., and lobbied Congress on multiple occasions for changes to the Medicare payment laws.
Jeff writes frequently for the health care blog of Atlantic Health Solutions and speaks on various regulatory topics for many of his clients. He is active in community charitable work and school-related activities. He and his wife and three children live in Tampa.
Thomas Buchan has been admitted to practice in all state courts of Florida since 2018. Thomas handles licensure defense of professionals and health care facilities. These cases typically involve the administrative complaint process or issues with background screenings. He also handles the defense of a variety of complex civil litigation cases which include areas of employment discrimination, wrongful death, and negligence. Thomas is a member of the Health Law and Administrative Law sections of the Florida Bar.
Thomas is from Sarasota, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University College of Law in 2018 where he received the Katzentine/Simon Endowed Scholarship. He received his B.S.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Central Florida in 2012 and also attended the Junior Statesmen Summer School at Yale University in 2008.
Rickey Strong’s practice focuses on assisting clients with Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), initial applications for licensure, licensure change of ownership applications (CHOW), Notice of Intent to Deny Applications (NOID), and Administrative Complaints(AC). Rickey has experience in assisting clients draft their health care facility acquisition contractual agreements, and along with an experienced CPA assist with the proof of financial ability to operate.
Rickey’s practice also focuses on assisting all Healthcare providers, licensees, and non-licensed individuals from complaints from the Florida Department of Health (DOH).
Previously, Rickey served as in-house legal counsel for the Florida Department of Health. During his time with the Department, he provided legal counsel for the Unlicensed Practice of Medicine (ULA), Medical Professional Licensing, Vital Statistics, Public Health, Disease Control, Environmental Health, and Epidemiology. Additionally, Rickey reviewed, and edited contractual agreements entered into by the state Health Department. He was certified by the state as a contract manager, and taught the legal portion for state certification for Contract Managers.
Rickey also has experience in real estate law, including holding a real estate license since 1999. Throughout his career, Rickey has assisted Real Estate Agents, Brokers, and Appraisers in Administrative Complaint cases before the Florida Real Estate Commission.
Rickey is a member of the Health Law Section, Administrative Law, and Real Estate Law Sections of the Florida Bar, he is admitted to all state courts in Florida as well as the U.S. Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Since 2010, Rickey has also served as an adjunct professor at the Florida A&M University, School of Allied Health, teaching an undergraduate course in “Health Law” and the graduate-level course “Legal Aspects and Ethics in Health and Medical Care”.
Rickey Strong is a 2001 graduate of Florida State University. He also earned his MBA from Mercer University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2005 and earned his law degree from the Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando, Florida in 2008.
Rickey is also an AHCA-certified Assisted Living Facility (ALF) Administrator.
Howell, Buchan & Strong represents healthcare professionals and facilities.
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