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MD's admonitory tale: What many doctors are unprepared for

A doctor who makes it a point to speak to medical student groups and at health-care forums says that she always seeks to underscore for her audience that, "Wow, this is how it happens."

It happens like this for doctors with growing medical practices. Diverse groups of people -- termed a "parade of drug, device and other representatives" in a recent report on the doctor and her story -- vie for entry inside the office door, offering services and products.

And they are persistent, sometimes relentless. For some doctors, the parade eventually results in their practices becoming linked up in relationships that they don't fully understand.

And that can bring dire consequences.

For the above-cited doctor, they yielded a criminal charge and the potential now for incarceration and the permanent loss of her license to practice medicine.

In the doctor's case, she was persuaded to refer select patients from her New York City practice to a specific testing facility. In return for that, she was paid $5,000 a month.

The physician told the Washington Post that, while she knew her cash payments not being reported to the IRS violated the law, she was in the dark regarding what federal law enforcers ultimately deemed to be unlawful kickbacks from the testing lab for her referrals. Her acceptance of payments was viewed as a federal crime.

She says that most doctors are simply unaware of the complexities and nuances involved with some practices that occur in her industry.

"We have not been prepared for the business of medicine," she told the Post, adding that, "We were taught the medicine of medicine."

The doctor now tells the audiences she speaks to that they should flatly refuse to ever accept anything from industry representatives and that they should immediately consult with a proven health care attorney whenever they have questions or concerns.

Indeed, the complexities of business in the medical realm can -- and routinely do -- ensnare medical professionals in ways that threaten their livelihood and, as noted in this post, sometimes their freedom.

Health law regulatory and compliance matters can sometimes seem hyper-technical and overwhelming to medical practitioners. When such is the case, they can turn to experienced health industry legal counsel for candid advice and strong advocacy that is fully focused upon their protection and best interests.

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