AAPS LIMITED LEGAL CONSULTATION SERVICE (LLCS)
1. HIPAA Regulation. You can avoid HIPAA regulations by refraining from electronic transactions. AAPS is the only organization providing physicians with the information they need to satisfy this "country doctor" exemption. No one else will tell you this. Our phones are ringing off the hook with doctors wanting to protect their patients and themselves through this exemption. Are you one of them? The "country doctor" exemption was established in litigation brought by AAPS on behalf of members, Congressman Ron Paul, M.D. and several patients. AAPS v. HHS, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15857 (D. Tex. July 17, 2002) (on appeal).
2. Overzealous Investigations and Prosecutions. It is easier to prosecute innocent doctors than guilty terrorists or drug kingpins. Prosecutors raid doctors' offices, with guns drawn, terrorizing patients. Their medical records are then removed to a government warehouse for weeks. Facts later proving the doctors' innocence are ignored. Increasingly, Medicaid doctors are targeted as a way of balancing state budgets, with the poor losing their medical care, often in the middle of treatments. We help at all levels of the process, and have overturned convictions including the one featured in the insert to the January 2002 AAPS News. AAPS has also aided doctors unfairly tried for pain management, like Dr. Weitzel in Utah. You do not want to face the government alone. Recent cases: United States v. Dr. Mitrione, (D. Ill.) (pending), United States v. Dr. Sell, (E.D. Mo.) (pending).
3. Sham Peer Reviews and Bylaws. If you are an independent-minded doctor, you may find yourself on the wrong side of a sham peer review. In New York, we used a novel approach to save a member from a sham suspension. In Tennessee, we filed an amicus brief on behalf of a member summarily suspended because he posed an economic threat to the hospital. We also assist medical staffs in strengthening their bylaws. It takes experience to know what works and what doesn't. Recent case: Peyton v. Johnson City Med. Ctr., No. E2001-02477-COA-R3-CV (Ct. App. Tenn.) (pending).
4. Audits. Some of our best work is aiding physicians in response to audits. If handled skillfully at the outset, physicians can avoid enormous problems down the road. Our approach often resolves unfair audits in the doctor's favor - as they should be. Recent cases: audits of physicians for utilizing new technology.
5. Licensure. Many physicians face their state medical board at some point in their career. It is not pleasant. Do not face this alone. Recently, we sent a scathing letter to an entire state board explaining its errors in harassing a good doctor. The state attorney general responded by demanding that we never do that again! But we attained the result we sought: the doctor prevailed. We have filed briefs on behalf of doctors unfairly disciplined by their licensing board, and even testified on their behalf. We know the deck is stacked against doctors, but less so when we are involved. Recent AAPS efforts have benefited Drs. Sinaiko and Alexander.
6. Opting Out of Medicare. AAPS is the leader in publicizing how to opt out of Medicare, publishing a step-by-step guide on its website (www.aapsonline.org). Many who have opted out call it one of their best professional decisions. No one who has followed our procedures has encountered any harassment or difficulties for doing so. When an issue occasionally arises, we are here to help.
7. Ending the CPT Monopoly. Senator Trent Lott criticized the CPT monopoly as a $71 million per year revenue-generator for the AMA - at the expense of practicing physicians. The AMA cannot defend private medicine while profiting from our regulatory burdens. Also, physicians and the public need free access to legal requirements, and robust debate about them. The sooner the profit motive is removed from the CPT monopoly, the quicker we can reduce regulatory burdens and unfair prosecutions. We helped persuade the Fifth Circuit to examine this issue en banc, and it recently held in our favor by prohibiting ownership of legal requirements. Veeck v. S. Bldg. Code Cong. Int'l, Inc., 293 F.3d 791 (5th Cir. June 7, 2002).
8. Stopping the March Toward Dictatorial Health Depts. The CDC spent $900,000 funding the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, which gives dictatorial powers over medicine to unelected officials in state health departments. AAPS opposition was quoted on the front page of USA Today on July 23rd: "Unelected state officials can force treatment or vaccination of citizens against the advice of their doctors" under the CDC proposal. That article showed our success, using the headline "Many states reject bioterrorism law." AAPS also testified at the request of the New York State Assembly Committee on Health, and made a presentation to a packed audience in Ocala, Florida.
9. Filing Supreme Court Amicus Curiae Briefs. We defend our principles on broader issues impacting private and ethical medicine. We have filed many amicus curiae briefs before the Supreme Court, on high-profile issues ranging from the right to life to freedom of association by the Boy Scouts. In Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000), the Supreme Court cited AAPS an astounding 8 times. This year we filed a brief in Eldred v. Ashcroft, in defense of free speech and expiration of drug patents. We will soon file a Supreme Court brief in opposition to the forced drugging of Dr. Sell.
Other: Our legal efforts are as varied as our members. In addition to the above, we have helped combat unfair qui tam actions, respond to subpoenas, deal with coding obstacles to new procedures, and confront insurance matters.