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Q1. How do I know if I need legal help?
A. Almost anything we do involves legal issues. If you are involved in a legal dispute or wish to prevent a legal dispute in the future, you are well advised to seek legal advice. Many matters can be handled through self help, but as things get complicated, it is best to see a lawyer if only to review your documents to make sure they are in order or to warn you of potential problems.
Q. What does Health Law entail?
A. Health Law covers a wide range of issues in the health industry. These include: business transactions and operations, privacy and security issues, employee benefits, compliance with HIPPA and medicare rules and regulations, risk management, managed care and insurance reimbursement problems, ethical issues, joint ventures, malpractice, Stark Law, provider fraud and abuse, credentialing issues, and much more. Health is a highly regulated industry and care must be taken by practitioners in their relationships with patients, other professionals and third parties.
Q2. What kinds of things can I copyright?
A. You can copyright any original work of authorship which has been fixed in a tangible medium of expression. This includes, books, movies, songs, articles, photographs, computer software, and many other items. It is important to be wary of others’ copyrighted works but it is also good business to protect your own creations. Infringing on other’s copyrights can be costly and protecting your intellectual property can be a significant source of revenue.
Q3. Can I prevent an employee from competing against me once they leave my employment?
A. You can have the potential employee sign a non-compete agreement as a condition of employment. You must be careful, however, because California has various limits to the enforcement of such agreements. In addition to the protection offered in non-compete agreements, an employment contract can include clauses that will protect the employer’s trade secrets.
Q4. Do you make calls to clients outside your office?
A. I can make arrangements to meet you at a proper and convenient location outside my office. I am flexible and am often outside the office and can arrange to meet you at a place where it is convenient for both of us. Please call to make such arrangements.
Q5. What kinds of legal cases do you handle?
A. I am available to help you with issues in mental health law, family law, bankruptcy (chapter 7 and chapter 13), business formation and contracts. Other areas of law, such as immigration are handled in association with other attorneys.
Q6. What are the alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
A. There are several alternatives. For example, debtors who are engaged in business, may file under Chapter 11, avoid liquidation and restructure or reorganized their debt. In addition, individuals who have regular income may seek an adjustment of their debts under Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This could possibly help them save their homes from foreclosure by allowing them to “catch up” past due payments through a payment plan.
Q1. What are the higher risk categories of patients who file malpractice suits against psychologists?
A. High risk patients include those in the upper income levels, non-minority background, and those with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder
Q2. What is the most common reason for a psychologist being disciplined by the licensing board?
A. Boundary violations including sex with clients and dual relationships.
Q3. Do psychologists have the same due process rights as criminals under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution?
A. No. Although psychologists do have some due process rights with the licensing board, these rights are not as extensive as those provided to criminals under the Constitution. Thus, psychologists must be especially careful in answering questions when contacted by, and/or appearing before, the licensing board.
Q4. What are the Continuing Education requirements as regards supervising psychological assistants?
A. A supervising psychologist must complete 6 hours of supervision coursework every two years.
Q5. Do psychologists need to comply with HIPAA Privacy Rules?
A. Yes. If you provide any patient health information electronically, you must comply with HIPAA Rules.
Q6 What is Tarasoff and should a psychologist be concerned when a patient’s family member reports that the patient intends to harm someone?
A. Tarasoff is a case involving a psychologist who was sued for failing to notify a victim that one of his patients intended to harm her. This duty to warn an intended victim has been extended to include information coming to the psychologist from a family member.
Q7. Are there circumstances under which I can terminate the therapeutic relationship with a patient?
A. You may terminate a patient under certain circumstances such as refusal to pay your fees and noncompliance with treatment. To be safe, give proper notice to the patient of your intent to terminate treatment, allow plenty of time for dialogue and provide three referral sources. Follow up to make sure the patient is being taken care of elsewhere and, above all, do not abandon a patient in crisis.
Q8. If a psychologist tries to collect past fees from patients, does this increase the risk of getting sued?
A. Yes, especially if you try to collect through a collection agency. A patient may then file a counterclaim alleging a breach of the duty of care.
Q9. If I have an attorney who has been assigned to me by my malpractice insurance to defend me, am I being defended properly?
A. Beware of conflicts of interest. It is important to know that, although the attorney assigned to the case will represent you, he/she is also representing the insurance company. At some point, your interests and the interests of the insurance company could be in conflict. You must take steps to protect your interests and to assure that information revealed to the initial attorney is kept in the strictest confidence.
Q10. What should I do if I receive a subpoena?
A. First, read it carefully to see what is requested and verify that your patient’s signature is authentic. Then communicate with your patient regarding the subpoena and the implications of releasing the requested information.
Q11. Which diagnosis is most associated with suicide?
A. OCD and substance abuse.
Q.12. What areas of my practice involve legal issues not normally thought about by the practitioner?
A. Retirement, death, closing a practice.
Q1. What is a copyright?
A. A copyright is a legal right to do various things with your work. It allows you the exclusive right to copy, adapt, distribute, display and perform the work.
Q2. Do I have to register my work to have a copyright?
A. No. You have a copyright in your work the second it is created and put into a tangible form.
Q3. Can I sue for copyright infringement if I haven’t registered my work?
A. No. A work must be registered before you can sue someone for infringing on your rights to the work. In addition, there are other legal advantages to registering your work which should encourage you to register early.
Q4. What are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC?
A. These are performing rights societies. Among other things, they monitor radio stations to see which songs are being played. They collect money from radio stations, stadiums, restaurants, concert venues etc. and then distribute these monies to songwriters and publishers according to how often their works are performed.
Q5. What are mechanical royalties?
A. These are royalties earned from the actual sales of records as opposed to the performance of the copyrighted song.
Q6. Why do I need contracts with musicians who help me record my songs?
A. One good reason is so that there is no dispute as to who is the owner of the copyright. Musicians may make some suggestions for your song during the recording session. You want to make sure that it is understood that these suggestions do not entitle them to a part ownership in the copyright of your songs. This is one good reason to have an agreement with your recording musicians (and collaborators) before you start work in the studio. Of course, there are other issues that should be included in your contracts that are a must if you are to avoid disputes later.