Showing posts relating to: The Courtroom: Legal Spotlight

Navigating FMLA + HIPAA: Notes for Nurse Practitioners

In my last post, I discussed the basics of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as they relate to healthcare providers. Nurse practitioners are likely to treat patients requesting medical leave from employers, and are often responsible for completing the paperwork required for the patient to do so. Discussing a patient's medical condition with an employer, however, puts the NP in a precarious position as healthcare providers are restricted from releasing patient information by HIPAA privacy laws. What information can nurse practitioners reveal to employers about patients seeking FMLA?

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FMLA Q&A for Nurse Practitioners

If you're a nurse practitioners, chances are that thinking about FMLA is accompanied by a groan. FMLA means more paperwork for healthcare providers charged with securing medical leave for patients or their family members. Before whipping out your pen and scribbling responses into the multi-page form, however, it's important that nurse practitioners familiarize themselves with the background of the law and the requirements for advocating for a patient's leave. An FMLA slip-up could leave you legally exposed. Maintain solid relationships with your patients, and follow the letter of the law by understanding the answers to these basic FMLA questions. 

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5 Things NPs Need to Know About MACRA

The alphabet soup that is provider reimbursement got a bit thicker over the past few weeks. MACRA, MIPS, and APM are among the new acronyms healthcare providers must know to get paid. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MARCA) last month. Effectively, this ruling changes the standards by which Medicare reimburses healthcare providers. What do nurse practitioners need to know about the act?

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Oh, $@#*%! 5 Steps to Take After Making a Medical Error

We've all been there...on the guilty end of making a mistake when it comes to caring for our patients. Whether you prescribed an antibiotic to which the patient was allergic, performed a less than adequate procedure or misdiagnosed a medical condition, nurse practitioners and physician assistants aren't perfect. Mistakes are to be expected. We are, after all, human. But, when working with patients even the smallest of errors can have major consequences. What steps should you take when you totally screw up?

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The State of the Nurse Practitioner Profession

In this highly political climate, and in recognition of Nurse Practitioner Week, I think it's important that we take a minute to look at the state of the nurse practitioner profession in our country. What changes were made to scope of practice legislation in 2016? What changes can we expect on the horizon? Nurse practitioners' ability to practice is highly dependent on state legislation. So, as NPs we must keep up to date with the latest in politics. How does the NP profession look in 2016?

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Opening a MedSpa? What Nurse Practitioners Need to Know

A nurse practitioner reader recently posted a comment on MidlevelU related to MedSpas and delegating to aestheticians. The question is a good one. A number of entrepreneurial nurse practitioners are going the MedSpa route, opening practices catering to cosmetic procedures. In many states, nurse practitioners are able to start such businesses independently, taking advantage of favorable state scope of practice laws. If you're interested in opening a MedSpa as a nurse practitioner, what legal regulations do you need to consider?

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4 Best Sites for Keeping Up With Healthcare Legislation

It's easy to greet the thought of keeping up with political and legislative agendas in healthcare with a big yawn. Or, to shy away from diving into the controversy of the current election. After a long work week, the last thing nurse practitioners have the energy for is perusing articles discussing the latest CMS reimbursement policies, HIPAA updates and healthcare reform implications. But, with every aspect of patient care so highly regulated, nurse practitioners are wise to stay in the know when it comes to health policy. How can you keep informed?

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Real Alternatives to Opioids for Pain Management

By Healthcare Attorney Alex Scarbrough Fisher

Healthcare providers are aware of the current opioid epidemic in the United States, as well as the risks—both to the provider’s patients, and to the provider’s licensure—of prescribing opioids to patients for the management of chronic pain. So, what do we do about it? 

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Telehealth: Can NPs Treat Out-of-State Patients?

The expansion of telehealth has a number of positive implications for nurse practitioners. It can mean the ability to work from home, providing patient care from a computer screen. Telehealth helps nurse practitioners interact with patients who may have barriers to receiving care in the traditional clinic or hospital setting. Technically, the technology opens up a much wider patient population to the nurse practitioner, as close geographic proximity is not required to interact with the patient. But, is it legal for NP to treat out-of-state patients on telehealth platforms?

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Rx Pad: What Nurse Practitioners Must Include on Prescriptions

Prescribing practices are heavily regulated in most states, especially for nurse practitioners. There are very specific guidelines NPs must follow when writing prescriptions in general, and for controlled substances. Nurse practitioners who don't keep up with guidelines related to the information that must be included on prescriptions for these medications will find themselves bogged down with pharmacy callbacks, and and may even face discipline from regulatory bodies. So, it's essential to know what information must be included on prescriptions where you practice. 

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The Rules for Treating Partners of Patients with STDs

As a nurse practitioner working in the emergency department, I've become accustomed to treating patients for sexually transmitted infections. In fact, I do so nearly every shift I work. While having these sometimes awkward conversations with patients has become much easier, the waters surrounding treatment for the partners of these patients remains murky. Is it allowable to prescribe antibiotics for the partner of a patient I have never laid eyes on? What are the legal implications of doing so?

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So, You Want to Take Your NP Career to France? Here's How.

The nurse practitioner profession has been developing slowly across Europe. Here at MidlevelU headquarters, we receive a lot of questions from nurse practitioners looking to work abroad. So, over the next few weeks, we're looking at the process for working internationally as a NP certified to practice in the U.S. If the turquoise waters of the French Riviera, the lavender fields of Provence, or the romantic appeal of the Eiffel Tower are calling your name, here's how to practice as a nurse practitioner in France. 

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