Rafael A. Gaitan, Esq. a partner at the Firm specialized in health care law, was asked by NBC 6 to review a physician services contract and provide his opinions as to its validity.
In this case, a Miami resident signed a contract for laser treatment of her toenail fungus which was to cover treatments for one year or until the fungus was resolved. After three years of treament the patient was being asked to pay additional monies by the doctor to continue her treatment.
Although Mr. Gaitan did not believe the patient was the victim of fraud, he did agree that the contract was misleading as to the duties of the doctor’s office. To avoid this problem, Mr. Gaitan advises consumers to “pay for treatment with a credit card so you can challenge charges if there are problems. Gaitan said if you don’t think a practice has lived up to its part of the contract, take detailed notes and express concerns to a provider as soon as it happens. And if you don’t have an attorney to review a contract Gaitan suggests sitting on it for 24 hours, share it with those you trust to make sure it’s a document you really want to sign.”
The interview aired on February 9, 2016 and can be viewed at: http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Woman-Claims-She-Was-Asked-to-Pay-More-After-Signing-Toenail-Treatment-Contract-368194341.html
FOLLOW UP NOTE TO HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS: Although this interview focused on the consumer’s rights, it was also instructive for the health care provider who can unknowingly get caught up in a similar legal battle and public relations mess.
Thus, Mr. Gaitan reminds health care providers to work with attorneys experienced in health care laws and regulations for all their business needs, noting that it is a common misconception that forms and contracts generally applicable to business transactions can be easily customized to the health care industry. Since health care businesses are so highly regulated at the federal and state level, more than any other business, these documents will always be deficient and may end up costing the provider more money in legal fees, government penalties, time away from the office and public relations recovery.