Dentist Malpractice Law

Illustration of a long shadow tooth icon with an unbalanced weight scale

Dental malpractice laws in Florida regulate the professional conduct of dentists and help to ensure that patients receive proper care. The statutes regarding malpractice law for the dental profession evolve regularly, often in response to issues that come up in the courts.

For this reason, it is important to keep up with what constitutes malpractice in the state of Florida as long as you are a dental professional.

Florida Dental Malpractice Law

Dental malpractice occurs when a dentist fails to provide care that meets the standard of care in the industry and causes injury or harm to a patient.

Remember that a case can be brought by a patient because they believe the care received did not meet the standard of care for the industry, but that doesn’t make it true unless their definition of “standard of care” matches the state’s definition, and they have proof of their allegations. This means that hundreds of dental professionals get served with meritless cases every year in Florida.

Dental Malpractice Suit Requirements in Florida

There are some rules that those who file malpractice claims in Florida must follow, and one of them is a statute of limitations. In most cases, patients have two years from the date of perceived injury to file a dental malpractice lawsuit, though in some cases, the statute of limitations may be extended to four years from the date of discovery of the injury if that occurred long after the date of service.

In order to bring a successful dental malpractice lawsuit in Florida, the patient must have the testimony of a qualified dental expert witness who can attest to the standard of care and whether the dentist failed to meet that standard. This is a critical piece of the puzzle. For many dentists who have been wrongly accused, providing information that contradicts the expert witness is crucial.

Dental Malpractice Damages

Should the patient win a dental malpractice lawsuit in Florida, they may be awarded damages, which usually includes the cost paid for dental expenses, lost wages, and potentially pain and suffering.

There are caps on the amount of damages that can be awarded in dental malpractice cases in Florida. The cap will vary based on the following:

  • Type of damages (such as non-economic versus permanent injury or death)
  • Number of plaintiffs
  • Current law in Florida

Before a Dental Malpractice Case Goes to Court in Florida

It’s important to note that before a malpractice claim can go to court, the patient must provide written notice of the claim to the dental professional and give them time to investigate what happened and respond, potentially keeping it out of court.

If the claim cannot be settled out of court, it must be reviewed by a medical panel for merit. Only then can it go before a court.

If you are facing a malpractice claim, contact Florida Healthcare Law Firm to get the support you need to address the issue proactively.

Fraud & Abuse Healthcare Law

Fraud and abuse in healthcare

Fraud and healthcare shouldn’t go hand in hand. But improper paperwork, unusual relationships, and greed can get you into legal trouble. Find out about typical cases and what you should do.

Continue reading

Florida Health MQA Online Services

Flat line design website banner of healthcare mobile app. Modern vector illustration for web design, marketing and print material.

The Florida MQA Online Services Portal is an easy and accessible option for healthcare professionals who are seeking to keep up with all the requirements that come with maintaining licensure in the state of Florida.

If you are having issues with maintaining state regulations or facing a lawsuit due to perceived negligence or lack of compliance, Florida Healthcare Law Firm can help. Call now to set up an initial consultation.

What Is the Florida MQA Online Services Portal?

Florida Health MQA Online Services is a portal hosted by the Florida Department of Health, Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA). It offers healthcare professionals access to online services that allow them to keep up with state requirements for their profession more easily and efficiently.

The following are some of the key services offered by the Florida Health MQA Online Services portal:

  • License verification: The license verification service allows healthcare professionals and employers to verify the license status of a healthcare professional in Florida. Because both the professional and employers can access the portal, it makes the job application and review process easier for everyone.
  • Renewal: The renewal service allows healthcare professionals to renew their license online. This includes providing the ability to update contact information and certifying that they have met the continuing education requirements.
  • CE tracking: The continuing education (CE) tracking service allows healthcare professionals to update their continuing education credits, noting the courses they have taken and the number of hours put in. The CE tracking service can also help healthcare professionals to monitor their CE credits and ensure they have met the requirements for license renewal.
  • Application: If a new license is needed and the CE tracking service shows that the terms have been met, the application service allows healthcare professionals to apply for their new license or endorsement online. They offer the ability to submit personal and professional information, pay the fee, and submit any required documentation.
  • Discipline information: The discipline information service provides and updates information about any disciplinary actions taken against a healthcare professional in Florida. It is important to note that this information is available to the public.

Troubleshooting Discipline and Compliance Issues

Because the disciplinary information about healthcare professionals is available to the public, it is important to make sure that that information is updated and correct. It can also be an impetus to address any outstanding issues with compliance as quickly as possible in order to maintain good standing.

If you are in need of assistance when it comes to getting and maintaining compliance, Florida Healthcare Law Firm can help.

Additionally, if you have updated your information and remained in compliance across the board, but the information in the Florida Department of Health, Division of Medical Quality Assurance is incorrect, and you cannot get it updated or changed, we can also help. Contact us now to set up an appointment.

What Is Religious Exemption Form in Florida?

Getting a religious exemption form in the state of Florida may be the first step to avoid having your child vaccinated if it is required at an educational or other institution for attendance. The process for getting religious exemption in Florida will vary for adults compared to children, so it’s a good idea to know the options before getting started.

What Is the Florida Religious Exemption Form?

The Florida Religious Exemption form DH 681 is a document that allows parents to opt out of having their child receive certain vaccinations required by Florida state law due to religious beliefs.

To be eligible for a religious exemption, the parent or guardian must have a sincerely held religious belief that conflicts with the administration of one or more vaccinations to their child. They must then apply for a religious exemption by completing and signing the Florida Religious Exemption form DH 681 and submitting it to the school or childcare facility where their child is enrolled.

This form must be re-submitted each school year and/or when the child changes schools or childcare facilities.

The form is relatively simple. The only information required are identifying information of the child and a statement from the parent of their sincerely held religious belief that conflicts with the administration of one or more vaccinations.

Is a Religious Exemption the Only Way to Circumvent Vaccination Requirements in Florida?

If the parent or guardian does not have a sincerely held religious belief that conflicts with the administration of one or more vaccinations, the child may still be eligible for a medical exemption. A medical exemption requires a statement from a licensed physician stating that the child has a medical condition that precludes them from receiving one or more vaccinations.

Is There a Florida Religious Exemption Form for Adults?

There is no specific religious exemption form for adults in Florida. However, adults in Florida have the right to decline vaccinations based on religious beliefs under state law.

In order to decline a vaccine for religious reasons, an adult may need to submit a written statement outlining their sincere religious beliefs to the healthcare provider administering the vaccine or to the employer if the vaccine is being required as a condition of employment.

Difficulty Securing a Vaccine Exemption

While there are steps in place to help people secure an exemption to a vaccine based on religious or medical issues, the process does not always run smoothly. If you are struggling with the vaccination exemption process in your clinic or healthcare business due to a patient’s actions or if you are in a lawsuit based on your company’s requirements for vaccination, Florida Healthcare Law Firm can help you protect your rights.

Contact us today to set up a consultation to discuss your unique situation and create a plan for moving forward.

All You Need to Know About Florida Telehealth Laws

telehealth vector banner, illustration of medical care, hospital design

As a medical professional in Florida, it is important to understand the regulations and requirements for providing telehealth services. Protecting oneself against perceived violations of Florida telehealth statutes starts with understanding the laws surrounding healthcare that is provided remotely.

Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Telehealth?

Telehealth refers to the delivery of any and all health-related services and information through electronic communication technologies, such as video conferencing, phone calls, and mobile apps.

Telehealth can happen between patients and their primary care physicians, specialists, or mental health professionals. Though it is not possible to accurately diagnose all issues or provide services that must be performed in person, it has proven to be an effective way to manage patient care quickly and efficiently.

Telehealth Regulations in Florida

In Florida, telehealth is regulated by the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

These boards have issued guidelines for the use of telehealth, which include the requirement for a valid physician-patient relationship and the need for appropriate privacy and security measures to protect patient information.

Licensure and Continuing Education Is Required to Provide Telehealth in Florida

In Florida, medical professionals must be licensed in the state in order to provide telehealth services. This means that out-of-state medical professionals cannot provide telehealth services to Florida residents unless they have obtained a Florida license.

Additionally, scope of practice applies in the Telehealth realm just as it does in person, and medical professionals in Florida should stay up-to-date with telehealth regulations and best practices through continuing education and training.

Payment for Telehealth Services in Florida

Most private insurance plans, Medicare, and Medicaid in Florida cover telehealth services. However, it is important to check with each payer to confirm coverage and reimbursement policies before offering services.

Privacy and Security Is Critical

Medical professionals in Florida must comply with federal and state privacy and security laws, such as HIPAA, to ensure the protection of patient information during telehealth appointments. This includes ensuring the confidentiality of patient information and using secure communication methods for telehealth appointments.

Documentation Required for Telehealth Appointments

Whether or not Telehealth is a part of medical treatment or the entirety of care, thorough domination is necessary. Medical professionals should document telehealth appointments in the same manner as traditional in-person appointments, including recording the diagnosis, treatment plan, and any relevant patient information.

Telehealth Regulation Compliance Support

Telehealth is a growing trend in Florida and offers medical professionals a convenient and accessible alternative to traditional in-person medical appointments that allows offices and clinics to save time and resources.

By understanding the regulations, reimbursement, quality of care, and privacy and security requirements, medical professionals can provide high-quality telehealth services to their patients. If, however, there are any issues with compliance or accusations of negligence, Florida Healthcare Law Firm can help. Call to set up a consultation now.

Recently, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (“LSBN”) posted an update on regulatory guidance as it relates to IV hydration therapies.

Recently, the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (“LSBN”) posted an update on regulatory guidance as it relates to IV hydration therapies. LSBN stated that it considers “mixing or otherwise preparing IV solutions in non-emergency circumstances as a prohibited act for all its licensees due to the current state and federal laws and rules relative to compounding.” They further state “Compounding IV therapies or adding a medication, vitamin, or other substance or additives to IV solutions is allowed…when performed by registered practitioners of pharmacy, medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine. RNs and APRNs in Louisiana, are prohibited from compounding…in non-emergent circumstances…[even if delegated by an authorized practitioner…].”

This is a huge blow to the IV hydration community in Louisiana as it restricts the scope of practice for RNs and APRNs in Louisiana. As the LSBN states themselves, this is in response to an increased number of inquiries regarding the APRNs authority to compound.

What does this mean for an industry as a whole? It mean the industry is getting regulated, rather than creating the regulation themselves. Nurses in Louisiana just got slapped down by their authority and other states could follow suit. While every state operates independently, many states will follow trends so as not to be the first. With the increase in demand for compounded IV solutions across the Country, more and more state boards will be pressed on this issue, which in many cases is not addressed. That means, the state boards could very well take a conservative approach here and limit scope of practice.

The Trojan Horse of Healthcare Revenue

Prepared by: Carlos Arce, Esq.

Florida Healthcare Law Firm 

Private equity and venture capital firms engaged in health care acquisitions over the last dozen years could be facing monetary penalties in the millions via clawbacks coming from CMS focused all the way back to 2011! CMS representatives have released statements to the Wall Street Journal that the agency will be recovering an estimate of $479 million dollars for over payments in 2018, and approximately $4.7 billion over the next 10 years.[1]

Healthcare business transactions always include financial due diligence on both sides. It’s routine, especially for large firms with dedicated accounting departments. One of the components of due diligence includes the calculation of the EBITDA through profit and loss statements, tax returns, and projected future profits. However, the due diligence that is often lacking is the deeper regulatory compliance due diligence that reveals whether the funds projected and reported are clean. In healthcare, compliance is essentially the foundation of revenue. Ignoring compliance is the foundation of fraud.

Coding and billing practices have for many years been under scrutiny for providers engaged in fee for service billing. In the last ten years, however, the government has focused massive audit efforts on whether upcoding has occurred in the Medicare Advantage space. Enter, “MRA gaming”. MRA stands for Medicare Risk Adjustment codes, which are codes demonstrating to CMS the expected healthcare costs of treating certain enrollees (Medicare beneficiaries) based on the disease factors and demographic characteristics. Providers who use MRA codes are mostly primary care providers because they receive additional funds when they contract with the Medicare Advantage Plans under a “risk” model. The issue arises when those codes do not have corroborating documentation to prove the necessity for use of the codes on behalf of those patients.

MRA codes make the difference between reimbursement to a provider for solely receiving a monthly per member per month (“PMPM”) capitation payments, and the surplus they receive based on the MRA codes and HEDIS measures. Providers are more likely to make higher returns per patient based on the surplus payments linked to MRA codes. Higher returns = higher transaction values. Higher transaction values = more risk in the eyes of CMS.

If the regulatory compliance overlay of due diligence on past transactions covered pre-closing audits as it relates to billing and coding practices, private equity and venture capital firms can rest easy. If it wasn’t handled at the time, there is still time to conduct a post-closing audit to diagnose any previous issues and proceed accordingly. It is better to get in front of this type of issue through self-disclosure, as opposed to having the government find out which could cause for a larger claw back amount. The government’s remedy for false claims is treble damages, and each claim has a penalty associated with it, therefore, it could be very costly once the bell has been rung.


Attorney Carlos Arce works with the Florida Healthcare Law Firm in Delray Beach, FL. He has deep experience with bodily injury trial work and in health law. Carlos has handled multi-million-dollar

[1] In blow to payers, CMS implements tougher Medicare Advantage audit rule, Rylee Wilson, Becker’s ASC Review: