Health Law Practice

Healthcare – the largest industry in Western Massachusetts – is an area of focus for every attorney in our firm. 

  • We serve as general counsel to many of the independent medical and dental practices in the Pioneer Valley and the Berkshires, helping on a near-daily basis with employment law questions, patient privacy, information technology contracts, physician compensation and other aspects of the relationship among partners and shareholders, and litigation, including practice before the Boards of Registration in Medicine and Dentistry. 
  • We represent medical and dental practices in connection with “life cycle” events: organizing partnerships and professional corporations; affiliating with hospitals and other physician organizations; purchasing and selling a single location or the entire practice; and dissolving multi-specialty groups. 
  • Physicians and dentists employed by hospitals or private practices often call us to review employment contracts and give advice on the legal and regulatory compliance issues they face at work. 
  • Our teamwork, decades of experience, creativity, and passion for learning make us well-suited for this fast-paced and constantly changing practice area.

Practice Operation, Transactions, and Real Estate

The lawyers in our Business and Banking Group and our Employment Law Group work together to support our medical and dental practice clients with a wide range of business, employment, and real estate advice, including:
  • We regularly prepare all of the corporate documents necessary for a professional corporation to practice medicine or dentistry, including the Employment Agreements and Shareholders Agreement among the physician or dentist owners of the practice, the Employment Agreements for non-shareholder physicians or dentists, and leases for the practice space whether that space is owned by an affiliate of the practice entity or a third party.
  • We work with the Practice’s accountant and other advisers to determine the most income tax efficient way to organize and operate the Practice and address the ownership of the Practice space.
  • We provide general corporate and business advice to each practice, dealing with all aspects of the employment relationships of the professionals and their staffs.
  • Where the Practice space is owned by an entity comprised of some or all of the employed professionals – depending upon the ownership entity selected – we prepare the partnership, LLC or corporate documents among the professional owners, and the terms of the lease between the Practice entity and the ownership entity.
  • We have helped groups rationalize, and then have prepared the agreements for, a wide variety of approaches to professional shareholder compensation – everything from equal sharing to the sharing of compensation based upon productivity agreements shaped to the personality and practice specialties of the group and the reimbursement structures utilized by third-party payers.
  • We are familiar with the current compensation programs – keeping up with the changes in approach our clients are seeing from payers. We have worked with our clients through the intricacies of compensation structures based upon (i) net cash receipts, (ii) work relative value units (wRVUs), including whether the production of extenders is included in the physician’s compensation and the appropriate conversion factors, and (iii) some hybrid approaches. We are beginning to talk with physicians who are concerned about the changes in reimbursement they are likely to experience, beginning in 2017, under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
  • We have represented practice owners in the sale to, or affiliation with, medical centers located in Western Massachusetts and Vermont, including the negotiation of the post-closing compensation packages for the professionals.
  • We have organized and separated single and multi-specialty groups as practice realities have changed.
We have guided our clients through some increasingly difficult realities for private practice groups and expect the challenges for physicians and dentists to grow in the coming years. We will continue to work with our clients to effect the best approach for their individual circumstances.

Compensation Disputes and Other Litigation

Our understanding of physician compensation and corporate and partnership law, our years of trial experience, and our thoughtful and professional approach make us effective at representing physicians and practices in disputes over compensation and other matters. We ourselves are partners in a professional practice, and so we understand that disagreements among partners or shareholders in a health care practice are about not just the words of an agreement, but also longstanding and complex relationships. In recent years, the attorneys in our Litigation Group have handled many negotiations, trials, and arbitration proceedings involving physician compensation and employment.

Audits, Disciplinary Proceedings, and Malpractice

Our attorneys represent physicians and dentists as they confront the landscape of regulatory, contractual, and judicial demands of the health care industry, including insurance audits, fraud and abuse investigations, hospital privilege suspension actions, disciplinary proceedings, and malpractice complaints.
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