Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Enters Business Alliance to Expand Into Florida

4 Indest-2009-3By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida (Baptist) announced a new “Cancer Alliance.” This unique alliance gives MSK a chance to expand its reach to Florida and bring the latest in clinical trials along with it. Hospitals such as Baptist, benefit greatly from Sloan-Kettering’s resources and impressive reputation. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is one of the most renowned cancer centers in the world and rated second for cancer care in the nation, according to a report by U.S. News & World.

Alliance Fulfills Fundamental Needs of Cancer Care in Florida.

Community hospitals in Florida, such as Baptist not only benefit from new resources, they will now have access to MSK’s physicians, latest treatment protocols and education resources. Baptist President and CEO Brian E. Keeley said its collaboration with MSK will save lives by bringing evidence-based, world-class treatment to its seven hospitals and more than 50 outpatient facilities throughout South Florida.

Baptist, which is based in Miami, is building a new $430 million cancer center on its main campus. It will feature South Florida’s first proton therapy center and will host advanced cancer fighting technologies.

Benefits For Both Institutions.

Baptist is not the only institution gaining from the alliance. MSK will gain access to hundreds of patients across the country for which clinical trials may be beneficial. The New York-based hospital will collaborate with physicians at Baptist on cancer treatments and clinical trials to introduce the latest and greatest therapies. In a statement, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, president and CEO of MSK said, “Today, we recognize the need to do more. Central to our mission is eradicating cancer, and through the MSK Cancer Alliance – and in collaboration with Miami Cancer Institute – we have a unique opportunity to share our knowledge and best practices with a wider patient population.”

In addition, clinical trials often attract more patients who are facing rare cancers and do not respond to conventional treatments. Which in return, gives the local hospitals the ability to gain valuable experience and become a well-known resource themselves.

To read the press release issued by MSK, click here.

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Professionals and Providers.

At The Health Law Firm we provide legal services for all health care providers and professionals. This includes physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, Durable Medical Equipment suppliers, medical students and interns, hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, pain management clinics, nursing homes, and any other health care provider. We represent facilities, individuals, groups and institutions in contracts, sales, mergers and acquisitions.

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

Sources:

Goldberg, Dan. “Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Alliance Expands to Florida.” Politico New York/AHLA. (February 10, 2016). Web.

Bendell, Brian. “Baptist Health’s cancer institute aligns with Memorial Sloan Kettering.” South Florida Business Journal. (February 10, 2016). Web.

About the Author: 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.TheHealth Lawfirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone; (407) 331-6620

KeyWords: Cancer Alliance, cancer business collaboration, Memorial Sloan-Kettering (MSK), Baptist Health South Florida (Baptist), Miami Cancer Institute, cancer research, clinical trials, advanced cancer therapies, advanced cancer fighting technologies, clinical trial defense attorney, health law attorney, Florida health lawyer, The Health Law Firm

“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 © 2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

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What Medical Students Need to Know About a Finding of “Irregular Behavior” on a USMLE Step Transcript – Part One

i4Perfection150429-1A6A0291-Edit-EditBy Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D. and George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health

The United States Medical Licensee Examination (USMLE) Step exams are a major component of students’ journey through medical school.  Most students focus on preparing a study plan and earning the ideal score to get into a residency program of their choice.  However, many medical students are not aware of the potentially career-damaging finding of “Irregular Behavior” on their USMLE Step transcript.

In this two-part series blog, we will discuss what constitutes irregular behavior and what the next course of action should be if there is a finding of irregular behavior.

What is Irregular Behavior?

In short, irregular behavior is typically regarded as cheating by medical school officials and residency program directors, even though it is not exactly the same thing.  Any such finding will be stamped on a USMLE transcript with a detailed letter of explanation attached to it.  This letter may come from the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), the USMLE, or the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).  Regardless of the organization it came from, the letter alleging irregular behavior typically states the following:

-A bulletin or policy related to the exam stating that irregular behavior is not permitted.

-The facts alleging irregular behavior in this case.

-The opportunity to respond to the allegations, in person, with counsel.

What a Finding of Irregular Behavior Can Mean for Medical Students.

A finding of irregular behavior can be a career ending event.  At the very least, it may delay graduation from medical school.  It may also disqualify medical graduates from many jobs or residency positions.  Additionally, USMLE Step scores are withheld from the test-taker while the USMLE Committee reviews the matter, or until a hearing has been held.

If a finding of irregular behavior is made, then usually the test-taker’s best score is voided and he or she must retake the exam.  The USMLE committee may also require the test-taker to wait a year or more to retake the exam.  Further, the finding of irregular behavior will be stamped on the test-taker’s USMLE transcript and visible to anyone that views it.

Conduct Defined as “Irregular Behavior.”

The USMLE defines “irregular behavior” as conduct that includes (but is not limited to) the following:

(1)    Seeking, providing, or obtaining unauthorized access to examination materials;

(2)    Providing false information, making false statements, or similar conduct in relation to application forms, scheduling permits, or related documents;

(3)    Taking an examination when the examinee is not really eligible for it (or attempting to do so);

(4)    Impersonating another test-taker or engaging a different person to take the examination for the actual applicant;

(5)    Obtaining, giving, or receiving assistance during the examination or attempting to do so (except for certain authorized acts);

(6)    Making notes in the secure areas of the test center, except for notes on the writing materials provided at the test center for this purpose;

(7)    Failing to comply with or follow any USMLE policy, procedure, or rule;

(8)    Failing to follow instructions of the test center staff;

(9)    Abuse or harassment (verbal or physical) of test center staff or any other disruptive or unprofessional behavior at the test center;

(10)    Being in possession of any unauthorized materials, including photographic equipment, or communication or recording devices, including electronic paging devices and cellular telephones, in the secure testing areas;

(11)    Changing or misrepresenting your examination scores to others;

(12)    The unauthorized reproduction of any examination materials or dissemination of them by any means, including via the Internet (this includes, for example memorizing them and repeating them, restructuring them, discussing the actual questions and answers, etc.). Note: all test questions and testing materials are copyrighted. You could be prosecuted or sued for violation of the NBME’s copyrights, and this has actually happened; and

(13)    Communicating or attempting to communicate about specific test questions, answers, items, or cases with any other examinee, potential examinee, or preparation group at any time.

Other Negative Findings by USMLE That May Be Detrimental.

In addition to irregular behavior, USMLE has also accused a test-taker of “Anomalous Results.”  This means that a test-taker made answer selections that look suspect (i.e., putting down answer choice “C” for every question).  For more information about other negative findings by USMLE, contact our office.

Stay tuned for the second part of this two-part blog series on irregular behavior where we will discuss the steps that are recommended to combat a finding of irregular behavior.

Comments?

Have you been accused of irregular behavior? How did you handle this allegation? Do you think a report of irregular behavior would hurt your professional career in any way?

Contact a Health Care Attorney that is Experienced in the Representation of Medical Students, Interns, Residents and Applicants, Fellows and Those Involved in Graduate Medical Education.

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent interns, residents, fellows and medical school students in disputes with their medical schools, supervisors, residency programs and in dismissal hearings. We have experience representing such individuals and those in graduate medical education programs in the following areas: in various disputes regarding their academic and clinical performance, allegations of substance abuse, failure to complete integral parts training, alleged false or incomplete statements on applications, allegations of impairment (because of abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol or because of mental or physical issues), discrimination due to race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation and any other matters, reviewing and negotiating contracts, preparing contracts, helping employers and employees enforce contracts, advice on setting aside or voiding contracts, litigation of contracts (in state or federal court), business transactions, professional license defense, opinion letters, representation in investigations, fair hearing defense, representation in peer review and clinical privileges hearings, litigation of restrictive covenants (covenants not to compete).

To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.

4 Indest-2009-3About the Authors: Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D., is an attorney with The Health Law Firm.  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.  http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: United States Medical Licensee Examination (USMLE) Step exams, irregular behavior, graduate medical education (GME), medical graduate attorney, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), graduate medical education attorney, lawyer for medical students, medical resident attorney, residency program legal dispute, residency program litigation, medical school litigation, legal representation for medical residents, medical students legal counsel, National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) lawyer, health law attorney, The Health Law Firm, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), anomalous results, USMLE Step transcript

“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 © 1996-2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

Contracting 101: Tips for Medical Graduates Entering the Workforce: Part One

i4Perfection150429-1A6A0291-Edit-EditBy Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D.

This blog is the first in a series intended to provide an introductory review of the basics of contracting for medical graduates entering the work force as residents and fellows, primarily by discussing employment agreements. We will highlight many of the common provisions found in employment contracts, along with many of the mistakes and pitfalls that we see in our day-to-day practice.

By the end of this series it is our hope that medical graduates will better understand the common language and terms found in employment contracts for professionals. These tips purpose to assist new professionals in recognizing common mistakes made by physicians and health professionals when negotiating contract terms. We hope to help make both employers and employees more knowledgeable about employment contracts so they can avoid potential problem areas and legal entanglements.

Our comments here are meant to provide general rules we have learned from our experience. However, please remember, every situation is different and there are exceptions to every rule. These tips are not intended to constitute legal advice. We recommend contacting an experienced health attorney for questions or concerns regarding specific employment contracts, or to thoroughly review all of the contract terms prior to acceptance.

Tip 1 -“Standard” or “Routine” Physician Employment Agreements Do Not Exist.

No two employment agreements are identical. Each must be reviewed on its own terms. It is important to consult with a healthcare lawyer experienced in negotiating employment contracts and evaluating health care business transactions.

Tip 2 – Negotiation is Always an Option.

Even though an employer may have what appears to be a “standard” employment contract for all physician employees, this can have changes, amendments, schedules, exhibits or terms that are varied from physician to physician or professional to professional. Generally, large employers are less likely to change their form to accommodate the physician than small organizations, but they can and often will. Small employers are often willing to make more changes to their written agreements.

If there are any changes, additions or clarifications you need to make to the contract, then put them in writing, sign them, incorporate them into the contract and attach them to the contract.

Tip 3 – All Oral Agreements Should be Accurately Reflected in the Wording of the Contract.

If it is different or not specified, the language in the contract will govern in any future dispute.

Keep Checking Back for Future Blogs on Employment Contracting.

In our future blogs, we will continue to provide tips on various issues to watch for in health care employment contracts.

Contact a Health Care Attorney that is Experienced in the Representation of Medical Students, Interns, Residents and Applicants, Fellows and Those Involved in Graduate Medical Education.

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent interns, residents, fellows and medical school students in disputes with their medical schools, supervisors, residency programs and in dismissal hearings. We have experience representing such individuals and those in graduate medical education programs in the following areas: in various disputes regarding their academic and clinical performance, allegations of substance abuse, failure to complete integral parts training, alleged false or incomplete statements on applications, allegations of impairment (because of abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol or because of mental or physical issues), discrimination due to race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation and any other matters, reviewing and negotiating contracts, preparing contracts, helping employers and employees enforce contracts, advice on setting aside or voiding contracts, litigation of contracts (in start or federal court), business transactions, professional license defense, opinion letters, representation in investigations, fair hearing defense, representation in peer review and clinical privileges hearings, litigation of restrictive covenant (covenants not to compete).

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

About the Author: Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D., 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 Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: physician employment agreement, physician employment contract, health professional contracting, negotiating business transactions, physician contracts, contracting tips for medical graduates, contract attorney, business law attorney, business lawyer, contract lawyer, contract litigation, business litigation, employment contract terms, physician agreements, physicians entering the workforce, business transactions, restrictive covenants, noncompetition agreements, covenants not to compete, business ventures, residency and fellowship, medical graduate attorney, fellowship contract lawyer

“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 © 1996-2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

Standardized Patient Program at UCF Offers Medical Students Advantages Not Encountered in Routine Hospital Rotations

i4Perfection150429-1A6A0291-Edit-EditBy Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D.

Standardized patients (SPs) are an integral part of learning at the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine.  The “patients” are treated as if they are suffering from actual illnesses and ailments.  Medical students poke and prod and question such patients on symptoms and medical histories, and are even assigned the opportunity to break bad news in certain situations.

By doing so, the medical professionals in training are offered experience not always able to be acquired through routine hospital rotations.  SPs can also offer assessments of students’ performance, providing constructive criticism and further growth throughout their training.  Additionally, some medical students have actually assisted SPs in discovering unknown medical conditions that have gone previously undiagnosed.

The win-win of the long accepted and utilized concept in medical training has pushed UCF to expand on its current roster of more than 60 SPs.

The Role of a Standardized Patient.

It would seem that SPs are simply actors, however, Victor Changsan, a UCF student who doubles as an SP, said, “[…] it’s more than that.  I’m a facilitator or an assistant instructor.”

Neurologist and medical educator, and the creator of the first SP in the 1960’s, the late Dr. Howard S. Barrows, M.D., said, “The [SP] is a person who has been carefully coached to simulate an actual patient so accurately that the simulation cannot be detected by a skilled clinician.”

SPs are given scripts and act out (similar to an actor) different medical and social situations.  Also not unlike actors, most SPs are required to undergo an audition prior to selection.  As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Rebecca Beiler, an SP educator at UCF College of Medicine, said, “We give them a simple case.  They review it and come in and portray it.”  This simple scenario is played out once in front of a top performing medical student and once again to a less organized medical student.  Beiler says the reasoning behind this “… allows us to see if they follow direction and don’t interject and how well they do in acting, because the students have to buy it.  They have to make it believable.”

However, according to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, unlike acting, “[t]his work has nothing to do with finding dramatic moments, entertaining, or playing to an audience.  It can be very repetitive; the same patient must be presented for every student.”  For FAQ’s regarding SPs issued by the University of Pittsburgh Office of Medical Education, click here.  Furthermore, SPs must undergo training and practice scenarios with one another before being seen by medical students.  SPs have the opportunity to become more advanced in their role as well, even becoming SP educators such as Beiler.

Changsan said, “I don’t give them [medical students] the medical stuff, but I give them the human aspect.”

Benefits of the Utilization of Standardized Patients.

Dr. Barrows’ innovative teaching and assessment conceptualizations derived from a need for a more extensive methodology of evaluating the clinical skills of third-year medical students.  While his concepts were not widely accepted when initially developed, Dr. Barrows’ persistence gradually assisted in shaping present-day medical school curriculums across the United States.  To read more on the origin of SPs in the U.S., click here.

The utilization of SPs complements medical education by rounding out the following areas: demonstration and instruction, practice and experience, and evaluation and assessment.  Medical students are able to gain valuable skills in bedside manners, medical history documentation and critical thinking skills through the use of SPs in their training.

Dr. Barrows noted, “This examination simulates the entire encounter with a patient from beginning to end and allows us to assess students’ clinical skills in a valid, comprehensive, and powerful way.”  He further explained that SPs add significant value to medical students by: preparing them for actual clinical problems in a less threatening environment; allowing for interruption and immediate, consistent and corrective feedback; and making it possible for students to practice communication skills with sometimes difficult patients or emotionally-charged situations.  To read more on Dr. Barrows’ overview of the utilization of SPs, click here.

Comments?

Does/did your medical school utilize standardized patients?  Do you believe it was a helpful addition to the curriculum?  Please leave any thoughtful comments below.

Contact a Health Care Attorney that is Experienced in the Representation of Medical Students, Interns, Residents and Applicants, Fellows and Those Involved in Graduate Medical Education.

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent interns, residents, fellows and medical school students in disputes with their medical schools, supervisors, residency programs and in dismissal hearings. We have experience representing such individuals and those in graduate medical education programs in various disputes regarding their academic and clinical performance, allegations of substance abuse, failure to complete integral parts training, alleged false or incomplete statements on applications, allegations of impairment (because of abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol or because of mental or physical issues), because of discrimination due to race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation and any other matters.

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

Sources:

Miller, Naseem S.  “Fake Patient Help Teach UCF Students.”  Orlando Sentinel: 6 Nov. 2015.  Web.  28 Dec. 2015

“Standardized Patient Frequently Asked Questions.”  School of Medicine Office of Medical Education.  University of Pittsburgh: 13 Jan. 2012.  Web.  21 Jan. 2016.

Stratton, Terry D., Ph.D.  “Origin of Standardized Patients in the United States.”  Office of Medical Education, UK HealthCare.  University of Kentucky College of Medicine: 2015.  Web.  21 Jan. 2016.

“Using Standardized Patients in Teaching & Assessment.”  School of Medicine Office of Medical Education.  University of Pittsburgh: 28 Oct. 2014.  Web.  21 Jan. 2016.

About the Author: Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D., 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 Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Graduate medical education (GME), medical graduate attorney, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), graduate medical education attorney, lawyer for medical students, medical resident attorney, use of standardized patients (SPs) in medical school, standardized patients in medical training, medical graduate evaluations and assessments, residency program legal dispute, residency program litigation, medical school litigation, legal representation for medical residents, medical students legal counsel, United States Medical Examiners (NBME) lawyer, health law attorney, The Health Law Firm, UCF College of Medicine applicants, UCF College of Medicine enrollees

“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 © 1996-2016 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

Medical School Applications Reach an All-Time High in 2015: Good News in the Face of Physician Shortage

i4Perfection150429-1A6A0291-Edit-EditBy Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported in March of 2015, that by the year 2025, demand for physicians will exceed the supply by a projected shortfall of 46,100 to 90,400.  Although significant, these numbers are much smaller than numbers previously projected in a 2010 study.  That study reported demand to exceed supply by 130,600.  One of the factors supporting the difference between the 2015 and 2010 projections is the rise in the number of physicians completing their graduate medical education from 27,000 to approximately 29,000 annually.

To read the full Final Report addressing The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand: Projections from 2013 to 2025 submitted by IHS Inc. for AAMC, click here.

With this being the case, the new number of medical school enrollees for 2015, should shed some hope over these dismal projections.  According to data released by AAMC in October 2015, the number of students enrolling in medical schools across the nation has increased by a whopping 25 percent since 2002, reaching an all-time high of 20,630 this year.  Locally, the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine received 4,875 applicants this year.  That is an increase from last year by about 700 applicants.  Overall, the number of medical school applicants rose by more than 6 percent in 2015, which doubles the percentage of 2014.

Increased Efforts to Diversify.

President and CEO of the AAMC, Darrell G. Kirch MD, stated, “The nation’s medical schools are creating innovative education and training programs to prepare tomorrow’s doctors to meet the challenges of the changing health care environment.  This dynamic landscape is leading to a record number of students applying to and enrolling in medical school.”

Dr. Kirch is hopeful that the consistent increases in the number of applicants and the broadened diversity of students enrolling in medical school will continue.  Dr. Kirch encourages medical schools to sustain efforts in their communities to diversify the applicant pool through pipeline programs, outreach efforts and holistic review initiatives.

The year 2015 brought increases in nearly every racial and ethnic category as medical school classes continued to diversify.  Most significantly, African American enrollees rose by 11.6 percent from last year, with the number of applicants increasing by an impressive 16.8 percent.  The number of Hispanic or Latino applicants was not far behind with a marked 10.3 percent increase from last year.  This category saw an increase in enrollees as well.  And while the percentage of male enrollees versus female enrollees remained consistent with last year’s numbers, first-time applicants saw a 6.2 percent increase among women.

To read more about the overall increases in applicants and enrollees, click here.

Physician Shortage May Still Persist.

In a statement released in March 2015, Dr. Kirch said, “The doctor shortage is real–it’s significant–and it’s particularly serious for the kind of medical care that our aging population is going to need.”  Dr. Kirch relied upon the study conducted by the Life Science division of IHS Inc. for AAMC in support of his statement.  The study shows that physician demand over the next decade is projected to grow faster than supply by up to 17 percent.  Furthermore, the forecast is believed to persist under every likely scenario including:

(a)    increased use of advanced practice nurses (APRNs);

(b)    greater use of alternative settings such as retail clinics;

(c)    delayed physician retirement;

(d)    rapid changes in payment and delivery; and

(e)    other modeled scenarios.

Dr. Kirch contends, “Because training a doctor takes between five and [ten] years, we must act now, in 2015, if we are going to avoid serious physician shortages in 2025.”  Dr. Kirch believes that the solution for the higher-end physician shortage projections will require a multi-pronged approach.  This approach includes:

(a)    innovation in delivery;

(b)    greater use of technology;

(c)    improved, efficient use of all health professionals on the care team; and

(d)    an increase in federal support for residency training with the goal being to train at least 3,000 more doctors each year.

The study confirmed that no single solution is sufficient on its own in providing a resolution to the physician shortages.  It must be a collaboration of efforts.  And according to Dr. Kirch and judging by this year’s numbers, it would seem medical schools are most certainly doing their part to prepare the next generation of health care professionals able to take on the growing health care needs of our aging population.

To read more about the key findings on the physician supply and demand through 2025, click here.

Contact a Health Care Attorney that is Experienced in the Representation of Medical Students, Interns, Residents and Applicants, Fellows and Those Involved in Graduate Medical Education.

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent interns, residents, fellows and medical school students in disputes with their medical schools, supervisors, residency programs and in dismissal hearings. We have experience representing such individuals and those in graduate medical education programs in various disputes regarding their academic and clinical performance, allegations of substance abuse, failure to complete integral parts training, alleged false or incomplete statements on applications, allegations of impairment (because of abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol or because of mental or physical issues), because of discrimination due to race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation and any other matters.

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

Sources:

“Medical School Applicants, Enrollees Reach New Highs.”  Association of American Medical Colleges: 22 Oct. 2015.  Web.  29 Dec. 2015.

Miller, Naseem S.  “Medical School Applications Increased in 2015.”  Orlando Sentinel: 26 Oct. 2015.  Web.  28 Dec. 2015.

“New Physician Workforce Projections Show the Doctor Shortage Remains Significant.”  Association of American Medical Colleges: 3 Mar. 2015.  Web.  29 Dec. 2015.

About the Author: Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D., 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 Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Graduate medical education (GME), medical graduate attorney, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), graduate medical education attorney, lawyer for medical students, medical resident attorney, residency program legal dispute, residency program litigation, medical school litigation, legal representation for medical residents, medical students legal counsel, United States Medical Examiners (NBME) lawyer, health law attorney, The Health Law Firm, UCF College of Medicine applicants, UCF College of Medicine enrollees

“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 © 1996-2015 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

UCF Medical Student and Her Furry Friend Bring Smiles to the Faces of Ill Children During the Holidays

i4Perfection150429-1A6A0291-Edit-EditBy Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D.

University of Central Florida (UCF) second-year medical student, Christa Zino, and her 2-year-old adopted canine friend, Ion (a boxer), know that smiles can go a long way in healing the spirits of hospital-bound children during the holidays.  And they don’t stop there.  Zino and Ion visit Nemours Children’s Hospital (Nemours) in Orlando most Friday evenings to bring some joy to children who often have to endure extended hospital stays, arduous medical tests and procedures, and separation from family, home and school.  Most of these young children lack a normal childhood experience due to their illnesses, but Zino knows that Ion has what it takes to keep these tenacious little ones going strong regardless of their current circumstance.

That’s why even a busy schedule and final exams cannot keep Zino and Ion away from Nemours this month.  UCF Today quoted Zino as stating, “When I think it is too much and that I can’t handle everything, this reminds me…why I want to be a pediatric surgeon.  I want to help children like the ones I see every week.”

For more information on the benefits of animal-assisted activities, visit the Nemours website here.

Getting to Know Ion: 65 Pounds of Friendly Canine.

Ion is one of Zino’s three canine companions chosen by Zino to become officially certified for pet therapy.  Ion was adopted by Zino from Florida Boxer Rescue.  Zino says Ion is reserved around children and “gentle in a way he never is when he’s just with me [Zino].”  The fact that Ion is all-around a big fur ball of friendly should not be surprising considering his beginning (prior to rescue).  Apparently Ion has always lacked aggression, which most dog owners would appreciate, but ironically landed Ion on Craigslist by a disgruntled former owner who was disappointed that Ion was not a “fighting champion.”

Good riddance, however, because it seems Ion has found his perfect fit with Zino as a “health care professional,” providing therapy to others in the form of palm kisses and snuggles.  And he’s quite the hit within the UCF campus community of medical students as well, providing Zino’s fellow stressed-out and sleep-deprived classmates with a welcomed “pick-me-up” three times a week.

Zino’s Inspiration to Assist Children: Drawing From Her Own Experience.

Zino knows firsthand how dismal hospital life can be for a child because she was an extended-stay patient as a child herself.  Zino was diagnosed with a bile-duct blockage as a toddler.  With her condition being so rare in someone so young, Zino spent 18 months in and out of hospitals and away from her home and Chihuahua in Apopka, Florida.

While Zino recalls very little from her experience, the one thing she vividly remembers is her visit from a furry friend.  As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Zino says she simply remembers “being happy” as a therapy dog sat on her bed keeping her company during a difficult time.

It was this very experience and positive memory that has led Zino to pursue a career as a pediatric surgeon as well as to carry on the grand tradition of meet-and-greets between sick children and a furry friend who shows up just in time to make them smile.

To read the full story as reported by UCF Today, click here.

Comments?

Are you currently a medical student, or are you considering a career in medicine?

Contact a Health Care Attorney that is Experienced in the Representation of Medical Students, Interns, Residents and Applicants, Fellows and Those Involved in Graduate Medical Education.

The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent interns, residents, fellows and medical school students in disputes with their medical schools, supervisors, residency programs and in dismissal hearings. We have experience representing such individuals and those in graduate medical education programs in various disputes regarding their academic and clinical performance, allegations of substance abuse, failure to complete integral parts training, alleged false or incomplete statements on applications, allegations of impairment (because of abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol or because of mental or physical issues), because of discrimination due to race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation and any other matters.

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

Sources:

Kotala, Zenaida.  “Therapy Dog Brings Smiles Back to Sick Children, Medical Students.”  UCF Today: 21 Dec. 2015.  Web.  21 Dec. 2015.

Santich, Kate.  “Canine Spreads Cheer to Ill Children.”  Orlando Sentinel: 18 Dec. 2015: Final Ed.: A1 &A6.  Print.

About the Author: Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D., 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 Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone (407) 331-6620.

KeyWords: Graduate medical education (GME), medical graduate attorney, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), graduate medical education attorney, lawyer for medical students, medical resident attorney, residency program legal dispute, residency program litigation, medical school litigation, legal representation for medical residents, medical students legal counsel, United States Medical Examiners (NBME) lawyer, health law attorney, The Health Law Firm, UCF medical student, University of Central Florida College of Medicine, canine therapy

“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 © 1996-2015 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.

 

 

Gradual Increase in the Number of Baker Acts Among Students at the University of Central Florida Comes As No Surprise to Law Enforcement

i4Perfection150429-1A6A0291-Edit-EditBy Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D. and George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

Christmas is flooding the department stores and malls with candy canes and toys, holly and trees, and bells and carols.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year…right?  Perhaps for some.  But according to University of Central Florida (UCF) police Cpl. Peter Osterrieder, a rise in Baker Acts (involuntary confinement for mental health issues) is to be expected among college students around the winter holidays.

Not only do UCF police expect to see more Baker Acts during this “feel-good” time of year, but as reported by statistics within the police department, Baker Acts among college students are on the rise overall.  Just this year, UCF police have committed 94 individuals, mostly college students.  That’s triple the number of cases from 2010, and up from 76 cases just last year.  UCF police Chief Richard Beary said several factors are likely to have contributed to the annual rise.

What Does it Mean to be “Baker Acted”?

Baker Acts are necessary when a person is mentally unstable and considered a danger to themselves or someone else.  Individuals who are Baker Acted can be held for up to three days against their will for an emergency medical evaluation.  To be held beyond the 72-hour period, which often happens, the psychiatric treatment facility requires either the voluntary consent of the individual or court intervention.  For more information and statistics on Baker Acts, please view the Florida’s Baker Act: 2013 Fact Sheet by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) here.

In our experience representing individuals who have been wrongfully confined, however, we find the law if often violated.

Factors Contributing to Baker Acts Among College Students.

Osterrieder said the stress brought on by semester finals can push students to their breaking point.  This is especially true for college freshman spending their first semester away from home, family and friends.  Osterrieder commented to reporters for the Orlando Sentinel, “They [college students] don’t have mom and dad to lean on every day, the best friends they’ve had their entire life growing up.  That challenge is very difficult for them.”  All things considered, college life can become quite overwhelming.

Beary noted the growing student body at UCF as a contributing factor as well.  With 63,000 students currently enrolled, UCF is among one of the largest universities in the nation.  Beary also acknowledged the increase in public awareness of mental health conditions which results in more calls for help from those suffering, their loved ones or others observing concerning behaviors.

Baker Acts: Naughty or Nice?

While the intention of the involuntary confinement of individuals requiring emergency mental health assistance is pure, erroneous confinement can actually exacerbate the underlying medical or mental health condition for some.  Still for others, the existence of a mental health condition is purely speculative and therefore treatment is unnecessary and even harmful.

Knowing your rights as a patient or as the parent of a student under a Baker Act restraint is essential in such cases.  Consulting with an experienced health attorney can better guarantee adequate help for you or your loved one.

To read more about Baker Act cases and issues about which to be concerned, read one of our previous blogs here.

For more information on a similar law in the state of Florida for involuntary confinement for individuals with substance abuse problems (called the Marchman Act), click here.

Comments?

Do you have a student who is being involuntarily confined under the Baker Acted?  Do you believe their confinement is erroneous or they are not being adequately treated for their mental health condition?

Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Handling Victims of Involuntary Confinement Through the Baker Act and Marchman Act.

The Health Law Firm represents individuals, families and friends in challenges to and hearings related to the Florida Baker Act and Marchman Act, when the basic criteria for confinement are not met and there is no medical necessity for further confinement.

Our firm has a process we follow to make sure that a person who should not be held under the Baker Act may be released in a very short time.  If the basic criteria for a Baker Act confinement are not present, the person is not required to be held and should be released.  If the person has been living independently for decades, has family and a support system available, and has had no prior mental health problems, the odds are he or she should not be involuntarily confined.  We act immediately to begin our representation, to make the hospital and its physicians aware that we are representing you, and to take measures to obtain release.  If required, we are prepared to file an emergency Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the local Circuit Court to have you brought before the judge for an emergency release hearing.  These cases can be time intensive, require a great deal of immediate work, but can yield fast results in most cases.

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

Sources:

Russon, Gabrielle.  “Baker Act Cases at UCF Are Soaring.”  Orlando Sentinel: Orlando: 5 Dec. 2015.  Final ed., sec. A: 1+.  Print.

About the Author: 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.

Keywords: Baker Act defense attorney, mental health lawyer, involuntary confinement lawyer, health law, Marchman Act defense, Baker Act defense lawyer, Marchman Act lawyer, Marchman Act attorney, health lawyer, substance abuse confinement, Baker Act confinement, mental health treatment, Baker Act confinement criteria, mental instability, involuntary confinement of student, legal representation for Baker Acts, The Health Law Firm, health law attorney

“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 © 1996-2015 The Health Law Firm. All rights reserved.