Healthcare Matters

   A Complimentary Newsletter From:

Barmak and Associates, LLC  

Managing Risk for Long Term Care and Health Care Providers

Volume 15, Issue 5                     ADVERTISEMENT                            May 2014

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In This Issue
Gerald V. Burke, M.D., Esq., Joins Firm
Barmak Attorney Successfully Defends SNF in Court
Attorney Cohen Admitted to PA Bar
NJ Facility Hit with $13.2 Million Verdit
David

David Barmak, Esq.

 

Matthew Streger

Matthew Streger, Esq.

 Of Counsel

Brandon

Brandon Goldberg, Esq.

 

Jennifer Cohen

Jennifer Cohen, Esq.

 

Gerald V. Burke, M.D., Esq. 

  

 

Click on Attorney's Picture for More Information 

 

Gerald V. Burke, M.D., ESQ. Joins Firm, Will Focus on Legal Issues Faced by Physicians & other Healthcare Providers
 
Dr. Gerald V. Burke has joined Barmak and Associates, LLC as an Associate focusing on legal issues faced by Physicians, Physician-Hospital Organizations (PHOs), Independent Practice Associations (IPAs), Physician Practice-Management Companies (PPMCS), Management Service Organizations (MSOs) and Ambulatory Care Facilities and Centers (ASCs).

 

Attorney Burke's medical experience and background will be a positive addition to the healthcare law firm's areas of practice including representation before professional boards; establishment of medical practices; leases, purchase and sale of medical practices; shareholder and partnership agreements; medical reimbursement issues and medical staff representation. In addition Attorney Burke will provide great value when retained by physicians, skilled nursing facilities and other licensed healthcare providers as "shadow counsel" to monitor a professional liability insurance carrier's appointed defense counsel to ensure that the licensee has an attorney focusing exclusively on the licensee's protection.

 

Currently, Dr. Burke maintains a private practice in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, is Medical Director of the Options Pregnancy Care Center as well as being on the active staff, serving as Chief of Section of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center.

 

Attorney Burke is licensed to practice law in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  He serves on the Boards of Trustees of The Old Taunton Colony Club and the Pavillons of Voorhees. He is a member of numerous professional organizations and has authored articles and lectured on his medical specialty.

 

Dr. Burke received his Medical Doctor's degree with honors from the Hahnemann Medical College, School of Medicine, did his residency and had a fellowship at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital all in Philadelphia. Attorney Burke received his law degree (J.D) from the Rutgers University, School of Law in Camden, New Jersey. Attorney Burke lives in Medford, New Jersey with his wife and daughter.

 

 

Barmak Attorney Successfully Defends SNF in Court
By: Brandon C. Goldberg, Esq. 

Barmak and Associates, LLC successfully defended a skilled nursing facility in a case brought by a former employee seeking payment for unused vacation and sick days. The employee had resigned with less than two weeks' notice, and the employee manual stated that if less than two weeks' notice was given, the unused benefit days would not be paid.

 

The former employee argued that this provision was illegal, and that the benefit days were legally equivalent to wages. As such, not paying out the unused days was akin to not paying earned wages. The facility's argument was that the days were simply additional contractual benefits, subject to the employee manual. As the employee had signed the employee manual's acknowledgement page, he was therefore subject to its terms.

 

The case did not settle. As first chair, Brandon Goldberg, Esq., presented the facility's legal arguments to the court in pre-trial written briefs and in oral argument on the day of trial. The court agreed with the facility's argument, finding that the days were not akin to wages. As the facility had a clear policy in place and acted in full accordance with it, the facility was not liable for any payments to the former employee.

 

As this case was based on numerous specific facts, including several not mentioned above, it is important to have every situation reviewed by legal counsel to see whether the above decision is relevant.  If you have any questions regarding litigation matters or employee-employee relations, please contact Brandon Goldberg, Esq. at bgoldberg@barmak.com or 609-454-5351.

Jennifer B. Cohen, Esq. Admitted to Pennsylvania Bar
Jennifer Cohen

Jennifer B. Cohen, Esq., an Associate at Barmak and Associates, LLC has been admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar Association upon successfully passing the Pennsylvania bar exam.  Attorney Cohen is also licensed to practice law in New Jersey and New York.

 

A graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law she joined Barmak and Associates, LLC in 2012.

Her areas of practice include: Corporate Compliance, Privacy and Security Law, Health Law & Policy,

Employment Law and Fraud & Abuse Counseling and Defense

 

New Jersey Facility Hit with $13.2 Million Verdict

By: Brandon C. Goldberg, Esq. 

 

A New Jersey nursing home was found liable by a jury this week in a negligence case for $13.2 million. An 87 year old resident was admitted to the facility for short-term rehabilitation following a fall at home and related injuries. The resident subsequently developed several Stage IV ulcers, had multiple wound debridements, as well as bone shavings and significant weight loss, among other issues. She subsequently died.

 

Facilities must take great care to ensure they are adequately staffed, clinical policies are being followed, and supervisors are effectively reviewing their team's work on a regular basis. However, documenting these efforts is just as important when cases arise. People often forget one of the most effective results of having a compliance program in place requiring appropriate documentation: when staff members know they have to document something that they have done, it makes it more likely that they will take care to see that the task is done. It also reminds them of the importance of each task. Of course, that isn't always the case, and therefore supervisors need to regularly monitor the staff to ensure the documents are reflected tasks actually and properly performed.

 

This facility was rated 5 stars. Their liability is still $13.2 million. They will appeal, but there is no indication as to whether that will be successful.

 

If you have questions regarding documentation of clinical effectiveness, please contact Brandon Goldberg, Esq. at bgoldberg@barmak.com or 609-454-5351.

 

Barmak and Associates, LLC      

 

Our law firm provides integrated regulatory, transactional, employment and litigation/advocacy services to healthcare organizations.

   

Representative Clients: 

Entities:  Skilled nursing facilities; Home health agencies; Hospice agencies; Hospitals.

 

Providers: Physicians; Therapists; Orthotists and Prosthetists

 

Suppliers:  Durable medical equipment; Long-term care pharmacies; Retail pharmacies.

 

Businesses: Billing; Management service organizations; Independent provider associations

 

Regulatory Issues: Corporate Compliance Programs (Fraud, waste & abuse; Privacy & Data Security; Employment); Healthcare facility; Licensed Professionals; Medicare & Medicaid (certification, survey and reimbursement); Auditing (legal; clinical; administrative; and reimbursement).

 

Transaction Issues: General Counsel Services; Contracts.
          
Employment Issues: Wage and hour; Equal employment opportunity; Discrimination; Whistle-blowing; Employment agreements; Severance packages; Employee release agreements, Non-compete agreements; Non-solicitation agreements; Confidentiality agreements, Employee leave issues, Electronic monitoring and employee privacy, Employee separation (suspensions, terminations and reductions in force); Documentation.

  

Litigation/Advocacy: Contracts; Employment; Fiduciary issues; Commercial leases; Payment (Managed Care Organizations; Medicare; Medicaid); Guardianship; Professional and facility licensing; Healthcare regulatory; Fraud and privacy issues.
  
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This newsletter has been prepared by Barmak and Associates, LLC for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

  

For more information, please contact:

David S. Barmak, Esq.

Telephone (609) 454-5351
Fax (609) 454-5361

www.barmak.com

  
  
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