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Introducing Our Firm Blog

Welcome to our Firm blog.  In this space, we will highlight developments in our two areas of concentration: employment law and healthcare law.  There’s a lot to talk about.

Employers face enormous challenges in today’s legal environment.  Actually, that’s putting it mildly.  The number of federal lawsuits that allege violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act – the federal law setting minimum wage and overtime pay standards – rose by more than 500 percent over the past 20 years.  That trend is eye-opening, but the trend over the past 10 years is astonishing:

FLSA Screenshot

Florida, in particular, has become a hotbed of wage-and-hour litigation.  Since 2001, roughly 33 percent of all FLSA lawsuits filed in the United States were filed in Florida, despite the fact that Florida’s population constitutes only roughly six percent of the country’s population.1There are no easy explanations for what is driving the rise in FLSA lawsuits, nationwide or in Florida.  Persons laid-off during the recession are more likely to file FLSA lawsuits than are current employees.  Many employers – often inadvertently or unknowingly – violate the FLSA.  And many plaintiff’s lawyers have focused their practices on prosecuting wage-and-hour cases.

Given these trends, business owners should carefully evaluate their wage-and-hour policies and procedures. The FLSA poses traps for unwary employers, and the law favors employees in the event of a lawsuit.  There are a dizzying number of standards, exemptions, payment-calculations, record-keeping requirements, and legal acronyms to be aware of.  For these reasons, it’s crucially important for employers to have good guidance on how to avoid these problems, or how to deal with them once they arise.  We’ll try to make some sense of it all here.

Of course, everyone’s familiar with the regulatory overhaul of the healthcare industry at the national level.  But beyond the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there are endless varieties of new state initiatives and pilot programs affecting the nature and delivery of health care.  Florida, for example, has fundamentally changed its Medicaid Program, shifting it away from a traditional fee-for-service model to a managed-care model.  Under this new platform, called the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program, beneficiaries enroll in a private health plan, which is paid a fixed rate by the State to manage that beneficiary’s healthcare needs.  Within limits, the plans keep what they don’t spend.  As a result, the plans have a strong incentive to press providers in Florida to accept the lowest possible reimbursement rates.  This brings an almost hydraulic pressure to bear on providers – such as physicians, durable medical equipment companies, home health agencies, assisted living facilities, and speech pathologists, among others – attempting to integrate into the new system.  Here, we will discuss developments in healthcare law, focusing on issues confronting such providers.

We will try to analyze these unclear, complicated topics using clear, uncomplicated language. We’ll do our best to avoid grammatical heresies like dangling modifiers, apostrophe errors, comma splices, sentence fragments, faulty parallelisms, misplaced semicolons, and sentence-ending prepositions.  Well, we may have already broken that last rule.  So be it.

If there are topics you’d like to see discussed, or if you’d like to speak with our lawyers about employment or healthcare law, contact us anytime.  For your convenience, there are handy boxes at the bottom of most of our site’s pages, so you can easily reach us.  We also invite you to follow or like us on one of our firm’s new social media platforms, like Google+, Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn.  You may also, from time-to-time, see me post about under-the-radar music, from roots reggae to dubstep.  That’s just because I like it.  We look forward to a lively discussion on topics of importance to business owners and healthcare providers.

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