Tag Archives: Sunshine Act

Trial Court Must Hold Evidentiary Hearing to Determine Disputed Facts in Public Records Act Suit

10 Indest-2008-7Edited by George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in the Legal Specialty of Health Law

An interesting summary of a Florida appellate case from Florida’s First District Court of Appeal recently came across my desk. Florida has a very broad Public Records Act and Sunshine Act. We are often involved in suing state agencies for force disclosure of documents and information.

The following is from a summary that was originally published in the newsletter of the Florida Bar’s Administrative Law Section.

Clay Cnty. Ed. Ass’n u. Clay Cnty. Sch. Bd., 144 So. 3d 708 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014).

After requesting various public records related to the Clay County School Board’s operation, and receiving only some of the responsive documents, the Clay County Education Association (CCEA) filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the circuit court to compel production of the records. In unsworn defenses to the complaint, the school board stated that it had already produced the documents, did not have the information in the requested format, or that the requested documents did not exist. The circuit court granted the school board’s motion to dismiss the complaint, and the CCEA appealed.

The First District Court of Appeal reversed, finding that CCEA’s petition for writ of mandamus was legally sufficient. The complaint alleged a violation of a clear legal right and breach of an indisputable legal duty, thereby showing a prima facie basis for relief.

The appellate court also concluded that the circuit court erred by failing to hold an evidentiary hearing to resolve disputed issues of fact, which CCEA requested. The school board’s defenses likewise created issues of fact that should have been grounds for a priority bearing under section 119.01, Florida Statutes.

Additional Comments.

This case is important for several reasons. It took place in the First District Court of Appeal. Since most Florida agencies are located in Tallahassee, most Public Records Act cases are filed there. Additionally this shows that the Florida Appellate Courts will require trial courts to actually have evidentiary hearings and trials when there are facts in contention between the parties, which is good for citizens.

Contact The Health Law Firm Attorneys Experienced in Administrative Law.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent clients in administrative and civil litigation (both state and federal) throughout the state and in other states as permitted by their rules. We also represent clients in cases involving the Florida Public Records Act, the Sunshine Act, the Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act. Our attorneys are available to provide emergency hearing coverage, administrative hearing representation, emergency board representation (Board of Medicine, Board of Dentistry, Board of Nursing, Board of Osteopathic Medicine, Board of Pharmacy, Board of Psychology, Board of Licensed Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy & Mental Health Counseling and other professional boards), as well as the Agency for Health Care Administration, emergency deposition coverage and other litigation coverage on short notice. Should you need local counsel or just coverage for a hearing or deposition, we are available; contact us.

Source: The original case summary discussed above was originally published in the Administrative Law Section Newsletter, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Dec. 2014), a publication of The Administrative Law Section of the Florida Bar.

 

The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 1999-2015 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Physician Payment Sunshine Act Deadline is Here-Are You Ready?

GFI Blog LabelBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law and Lance O. Leider, J.D., The Health Law Firm

As of August 1, 2013, the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act) goes into effect. The Sunshine Act, contained in Section 6002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), is designed to highlight the financial relationship between doctors and the manufacturers of medical devices and pharmaceuticals. The act requires that light be shined on the payments being made to physicians by pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, bringing these out into the “sunshine.”

Some of the items tracked include gifts worth more than $10, five-star dinners, trips, money paid to physicians for speaking engagements, etc. The medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers will be responsible for reporting the figures to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). However, it’s important that physicians keep their own records to verify the accuracy of the reports.

To read a summary of the Sunshine Act, click here.

What Has to be Reported and What Does Not Have to Be Reported.

All manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices will have to disclose how much money they pay physicians and hospitals in cash and gifts, as well as how much stock doctors and their families own in the particular manufacturer’s company.

As required by law, this information will be published by CMS starting in September 2014. There are several reporting exceptions, such as gifts less than $10, drug samples for patients and educational materials given to patients, according to a Huffington Post article.

To read the entire Huffington Post article, click here.

Physicians Need to Track Their Records.

The burden of collecting and reporting data will be the responsibility of the manufacturers of medical devices and pharmaceuticals, but physicians are encouraged to keep their own records. They will have 45 days to review disclosures and seek corrections if they dispute what is being reported. According to Modern Healthcare, CMS will not mediate disagreements but will note if a figure is being disputed.

Physicians can register with CMS starting January 1, 2014, to receive a consolidated report on activities each June for the prior reporting years.

To read the Modern Healthcare article, click here.

Helpful Resources for Physicians.

The Sunshine Act affects all physicians with a current medical license. The American Medical Association (AMA) has a “Physician Sunshine Act Tool Kit” available on its website to help physicians navigate the Sunshine Act changes. The AMA is also working on tools to aid physicians in talking with their patients about the transactions included in the new Sunshine Act database. Click here to access the AMA’s Physician Sunshine Act Tool Kit.

CMS is holding a national provider conference call on August 8, 2013. Doctors of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic medicine, dentistry, dental surgery, optometry and podiatry are encouraged to participate and ask questions. CMS also recently introduced a free mobile app called “Open Payments Mobile for Physicians.” The app will help physicians and businesses track financial relationships.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Professionals.

The Health Law Firm routinely represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

Comments?

What are your concerns about the Sunshine Act? Are you ready for the law to go into effect? How have you prepared for the Sunshine Act? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

Sources:

Robeznieks, Andis. “Reform Update: Aug. 1 Brings Deadline to Report Physician Payments.” Modern Healthcare. (July 29, 2013). From: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20130729/NEWS/307299967/reform-update-aug-1-brings-deadline-to-report-physician-payments

Aronfeld, Spenser. “Here Comes the Sunshine Act – And It’s All Right.” Huffington Post. (July 16, 2013). From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/spencer-aronfeld/here-comes-the-sunshine-act_b_3595394.html?view=print&comm_ref=false

Lasher Todd, Heather. “AMA Reminds Physicians: Sunshine Act Reporting Starts This Week.” American Medical Assocations. (July 30, 2013). From: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/news/news/2013/2013-07-30-sunshine-act-reporting-this-week.page

About the Authors: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

Lance O. Leider is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com  The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone:  (407) 331-6620.

“The Health Law Firm” is a registered fictitious business name of George F. Indest III, P.A. – The Health Law Firm, a Florida professional service corporation, since 1999.
Copyright © 1996-2012 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.