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3 tips for new physicians to avoid lawsuits

You have completed medical school and are about to become a physician. After years of hard work, it is finally time to do the work you are passionate about, but now you must minimize your exposures regarding Stark Law. If you are not careful, your referral processes could put you at risk for lawsuits.

Claims brought under the Anti-Kickback Statute can come with large settlements and jail time. Do not let a small mistake jeopardize your career. Here are some best practices for new physicians to avoid expensive anti-kickback claims.

1. Avoid upcoding

Make sure you always submit accurate and truthful claims for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Some physicians might be tempted to “upcode,” or use billing codes that characterize an illness as more severe or a treatment as more expensive than was provided, but do not fall into this trap of using fraudulent billing practices. Carefully scrutinize all your billing codes to ensure you never submit a false claim. 

2. Maintain records

As a new physician, you might become overwhelmed with all the medical records and various documents you need to organize. Do not become complacent with your recordkeeping practices. Staying on top of your documentation ensures your patients will receive the proper care and other providers can rely on you for important medical history details. 

3. Write prescriptions lawfully

As you apply for your Drug Enforcement Administration number, you will receive the authority to prescribe patients with controlled substances. Due to the strict nature of the Controlled Substances Act, you must be mindful of every aspect of writing prescriptions.

If you are not diligent in complying with Stark Law, you could commit Medicare or Medicaid fraud unintentionally. If you need help with compliance or legal representation as you face accusations of fraud, consult a health care fraud attorney.

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