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Refunding patient money, Part 2 / I-STOP Patient Distribution?

September 12, 2013

Question:

Jennifer, 

Thank you for Tuesday's email.  I have two follow up questions -  

1.  What did you mean by saying - “Also key is having any release executed properly and in exchange for adequate consideration.”

2. Does it make sense also to ask the patient to remove or retract the negative posted reviews? 

Thanks,
Dr. S

Answer:

 Good questions.   

1.  A release should be notarized, and signatures authenticated.  Also when you get something - a release, you need to trade something of value for it.  So here, you may be refunding money in exchange for a release.  Make sure the release reflects there has been consideration paid for the release to be valid.  Any release executed by you or your practice should be vetted by your healthcare attorney prior to execution. 

2.  Absolutely!  Voluntary removal of a posted review is the easiest and oftentimes only way to have a negative review removed.  

Other avenues of relief for negative reviews (previously posted) - 

Most online review websites contain “content guidelines” or “user guidelines” which state the type of reviews that are allowed on their sites.  If the review falls into one of the categories of reviews that are not allowed, it would be wise to contact the website and request that they take the offending review down because it is in violation of their user guidelines.  However, these websites receive many requests for removal of negative reviews, and your request may not receive a response for a significant amount of time, or may simply go unanswered.  In the interim, it would be wise to determine if the website allows for business owners to respond to negative reviews.  For example, www.yelp.com, has a feature which allows business owners to create their own account, and are given the opportunity to defend themselves against all negative reviews.  Responding to a negative review with the positive attributes of your business may ease some of the negativity of the review.  However, business owners should be cautious when responding to criticism, no matter how fraudulent.  Finger pointing and/or accusations made against the negative reviewer will likely do more harm than good for potential future business.
 
If contacting the website does not solve the problem, and you wish to seek legal action, you may subpoena the website for the identification information of the reviewer, so that you can contact the reviewer directly.  Simply contacting the reviewer and requesting they take down the negative review may be sufficient.  If the reviewer refuses, the next step is to file suit against the reviewer for defamation.  Again however, business owners should be cautious when deciding to file suit against a negative reviewer.  Unfortunately, no matter how fraudulent the review may be, bringing suit against an individual who wrote a bad review may attract more negative attention throughout the internet blogosphere then the negative review alone.  Of course the potential result varies on a case-by-case basis.  I recommend discussing strategy and next steps with legal counsel.  


I-STOP Patient Distribution 

Question:

Jennifer, 

Am I required to give my patients my I-STOP policy?

Thanks, 
Dr. A

Answer:

No.  Your I-STOP policy is for internal purposes only.  However, you may wish to notify your patients by posting in your waiting room or on your website that you are following I-STOP protocol and will be participating on the registry.  This may, in itself, assist in deferring drug seeking behavior. 



Looking to adopt I-STOP compliance?  To order our I-STOP policy that is ready for practice implementation, click here - https://www.kirschenbaumesq.com/page/practice-compliance. The policy is listed under "Compliance Documents". 

 

Looking for HIPAA forms (including a new required Notice of Privacy Practices for patients) prior to September's deadline?  
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Not sure why you need new forms? 
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Have a question or comment for Jennifer?
Contact Jennifer at Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com or  at (516) 747-6700 x. 302.

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