Georgia's Healthcare, Administrative, Corporate & Estate Planning Experts

How To Address Your Adult Child’s Substance Abuse Issues In Your Will

Addiction Substance Abuse Trust Wills Estate Planning Jeyaram AssociatesWhen we start to think about the future for our adult children who struggle with addiction, we worry about their financial and overall well-being.

We want to help them be financially secure after we are gone, but we also want to make sure they are responsible with any inheritance they receive.

This is where setting up a trust and a designated trustee as part of your will can help protect your child.

It’s Important To Set Up A Trust & Trustee

If your adult child has a history of addiction or is unable to make responsible financial decisions, leaving them an inheritance without any kind of guidance or protections could lead to further challenges.

By creating a trust and designating someone to manage assets (a Trustee), you are putting into place protections to help your child from others – including creditors and sometime from themselves. Following are a couple of trusts that may be useful when leaving assets to someone with addiction challenges.

Trusts With Incentives

Trusts can be designed to include incentives such submitting to random drug tests in order to receive some of the assets or that the trust will match dollar for dollar for any earned income.

However, structuring a trust like this should be carefully considered as it could prevent your child from receiving any support despite perhaps their best attempts to beat their addiction.

In addition, money may not be the incentive your child needs to try to modify his or her behavior.

Wholly Discretionary Trusts

If your child has a severe addiction or a history of being financially irresponsible, a Wholly Discretionary Trust may be the best choice. With this trust, the Trustee maintains control over all finances and you can specifically direct how the funds will be used.

For example, funds may be used for tuition or rent (paid directly to a landlord) or medical expenses. This trust helps ensure that the money a child receives does not negatively contribute to their addiction.

Selecting A Trustee

A Trustee is someone you name in your trust to manage the assets you want to pass on to your child. Selecting the right Trustee is perhaps one of the most important decisions regarding setting up the trust.

We often recommend NOT choosing someone in your family as this can create conflict and ultimately lead to estranged relationships. Instead, we recommend selecting an independent person or a corporate trustee.

We’re A Part Of Your Team

Regardless of whether you want to set up a straight-forward trust, one with structured incentives, or a trust with restrictions, the trust should include a Trustee to manage it.

Dealing with a child’s challenges with substance abuse can be emotionally exhausting, financially draining and outright overwhelming.

We’re here to help you figure out the best approach for setting up your will and trust for you child. You don’t have to have all the answers when you meet with us.

We’re here to help you create a plan that best meets your wishes and your family’s circumstances. I can be reached at DJ@JeyLaw.com or 678.325.3872.

Do Your Loved Ones Know What You Want If You Become Incapacitated? Do You?

will trusts estate planning incapacitatedSpecial blog post by Cassandra Jeyaram, PhD

The week before Thanksgiving, my 90-year-old grandfather passed away at his home. I am so thankful I was able to spend his last few days, hours and minutes with him.

Although he was incapacitated and could not talk, open his eyes or move his body, he knew I was there. I talked to him about his hometown of Winooski, Vermont, played his favorite CDs and told him some bad jokes, at which he managed a half smile on several occasions.

I shared with him how he taught me how to ice skate, fish (and subsequently get a fishing hook out of my belly button) and how to eat watermelon. I rubbed his feet, held his hands, and tried to make sure he was as comfortable as possible.

This Is An Important Conversation To Have With Loved Ones

It was during these last few precious moments with my grandfather that I realized I had never thought about what I would want during my final moments if I were incapacitated. Being incapacitated is something my family never discussed. Although it’s a conversation no ones like to have, it’s an important one.

Upon returning home after my grandfather’s passing, my husband and I sat down to update our wills and document in detail what we both wanted if we were incapacitated.

I would love a view of nature, classical music gently playing in the background and soft blankets. We also wrote down that if someone became upset while visiting me, they would be asked to leave the room. I know my heart would break hearing/seeing/feeling someone I love upset. I included this as I watched my grandmother sobbing over my grandfather with her tears falling on his face.

I can only imagine the heartbreak both of them were feeling after being married 69 years. I could sense my grandfather was holding on for my grandmother and only when my grandmother peacefully fell asleep on the couch next to him did he finally let go.

Some Things To Think About

When we think about “Estate Plans,” we often only think about our wills and what happens if we die. But an important part of our estate plans are our wishes of what we would want to hear, see or feel if we are incapacitated. Some things to consider are, where do you want to be? At home? In a hospital? What sounds or sights would you like? Do you have a favorite CD? Movie? Do you want your pet to be with you? Who would you like to visit you?

While these questions are not exhaustive, they are designed to help you to start thinking about your wishes if you become incapacitated and are unable to communicate. There are no right or wrong answers. It’s what you want.

As I look back on my grandfather’s life and this post, I realize my grandfather taught me many things, including that I need to communicate and document my final wishes.

Documenting Your Final Wishes

If you’d like help with your final wishes, DJ can help guide you through the process and make sure they are a part of your will or estate plan. He can be reached at 678.325.3872 or DJ@JeyLaw.com.

 

Doctors & Medical Professionals: Here’s How To Respond To Search Warrants

Search Warrants Can Be Scary – Here’s How To Respond

Search Warrant Audit Physician Doctor Attorney Lawyer Jeyaram & Associates“Knock. Knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“The Government. And here is a search warrant.”

Sadly, this is no joke and many doctors and healthcare providers will be served with warrants this year.

Warrants can mean anything from audits to criminal activity and have serious consequences including putting your practice out of business.

Step-By-Step Response To Search Warrants

If the government shows up at your door with a search warrant, the following are some important steps to follow:

  • Immediately call your attorney. It is crucial to call an attorney who has experience in both healthcare law and defense.
  • Ask for identification of the people at your door. Review the credentials or business card. Write down the name and contact information.
  • Do NOT destroy, alter or remove any documents.
  • Be polite. Remain calm. Be cooperative. Say please and thank you.
  • Ask for a copy of the search warrant and any affidavits filed in support of the warrant.
  • Ask what crime and conduct is under investigation.
  • Request that no interviews be conducted until your attorney arrives.
  • Immediately advise all supervisory personnel of the search and that they are to wait for the attorney to arrive before answering any questions.
  • Compile an inventory of all the documents being removed and ask if you can copy all the documents being seized – this includes making a back up disk for all computer files.
  • Make a record of everything said by an investigating officer. If you cannot do this during the search, write up your recollection after the search.
  • If possible, videotape or photograph the search.
  • DO NOT speak with the press.

Contact Experienced Legal Help Immediately

It’s imperative to follow these steps. But if nothing else, immediately contact an attorney and he/she will help guide you through the process.

Jeyaram & Associates has helped hundreds of providers successfully handle government investigations. Contact DJ Jeyaram at DJ@JeyLaw.com or 678.325.3872.

Why You Want To Avoid Probate

Wills Trusts Estate Planning Attorney Avoid ProbateProbate

It’s a word we often hear when we’re talking about wills or special needs trusts – but what does it mean? And why does everyone tell you to avoid it at all possible costs?

Probate is the formal legal process that occurs after someone passes. Probate involves proving in court that a deceased person’s will is valid and it’s the process of distributing the deceased person’s property. If the deceased had a will, the legal process is usually straight forward with little room for dispute and can be handled by your family attorney.

However, when someone passes and they did not leave a will or trust in place, that’s when things can get complicated and costly, and to be honest, sometimes the probate process can get really ugly. Without a will, the court will appoint an administrator for your estate – this could be anyone – to gather and distribute someone’s assets according to law. Sound simple? Not so much, and here’s why.

It May Seem Unfair

The process of divvying up someone’s assets can be a lengthy and complex process. And ultimately, without a will in place, the end result dictated by law could seem unfair to the deceased’s family. Most people’s assumption on how everything will be divided under the law is usually wrong.

Many of my married clients that have children assume that when they pass, 100% their estate will go to their spouse and when that spouse passes everything will go to their kids. In Georgia, this is incorrect.

In Georgia, the estate is divided evenly between the spouse and the kids (with the spouses the share is no less than 1/3). If your kids are 18 years or older then they get their share outright and not in a trust! Every state has its own criteria of how assets should be distributed if someone passes without a will.

As a result, family members may feel short changed or even worse, they could end up empty handed. This is one of the reasons having a will in place is so important. Wills clearly spell out who should get what, when and how.

It Takes A LONG Time

Further, most probate cases take anywhere from 6 months to a few years. If there are questions or disputes about the estate – it can take even longer. As a result, the family or individuals who stand to inherit the assets will have to wait a long time until the issues are resolved.

This can be a challenge for spouses or loved ones who need that money to pay bills. This could leave them in a financial pinch. With a will, assets – including money in bank accounts – can be distributed relatively quickly.

It Can Be Expensive

Not only is it a lengthy process, but it can be a costly process for those left behind. Though costs will vary from state to state, according to the American Bar Association, probate and administrative fees are estimated to be 6% and 10% of a person’s estate.

That can be a bit of money – and that assessment is made on the gross estate – before any fees are taken out. So the final inheritance will be less than what the deceased had intended. So while we may feel like creating a will is expensive, not having one in place when we pass can be even more costly.

Personal Life Becomes Public Record

And it’s just not the financial cost. There are personal costs too. Without a will in place, the deceased’s assets and their life are reviewed by the courts. As a result, everything becomes a matter of public record. So anyone – yes anyone – including your nosy neighbor, can go to the courthouse and find out what and how much the deceased left behind. This includes any outstanding debts or liens.

During this time, long lost relatives or secret relations may be exposed. This could be embarrassing and devastating for some families. Further, there are investment advisors or real estate investors or other less-than-ethical individuals who will want to “help” the family when in reality they’re just after the deceased’s assets. Having a will or trust in place allows families to keep family matters private and out of unintended “eyes.”

Easier To Put A Plan Into Place Now

Finding the time to put a will or trust into place is often a low priority. However, it should be a top priority as the probate process can be long, cumbersome and expensive. By putting a plan into place today, you’re saving your loved ones a lot of time, expense and heartache.

We’ve helped hundreds of families put into place wills or trusts that best meet their needs and protect their loved ones. It’s a straight-forward questionnaire and we’ll guide you through the entire process. I can be reached at DJ@JeyLaw.com or 678.325.3872.

 

The Easiest New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep: Create A Will

Wills Trusts and Estates New Years ResolutionWith the holidays behind us, many of are making resolutions to eat better, exercise more, get more sleep and try to balance our work and personal lives in the new year.

However, one of the most important resolutions we can make is often left off our list – writing a will. Putting into place a will or estate plan is perhaps one of the easiest and fastest resolutions you can check off your list!

Who Needs A Will?

Everyone. No matter your age, financial situation, marital status or stage in life needs a will, trust, or estate plan. Estate planning will benefit your loved ones by ensuring that your assets are properly distributed the way you want – not the way a court decides.

Why Do You Need A Will?

  • If you have minor children and don’t have a legal plan in place when you place, a court will decide who will care for them.
  • You’ve worked hard for your assets. Think about who you would leave your assets to – family, friends, or charities.
  • A legal plan will save your family from worrying and avoid disputes about your wishes.
  • Without a plan, a court decides who gets what. Your loved ones could be left without what you wanted.

Too many times we’ve seen families dealing with the loss of a loved one also have to face unexpected financial hardship because a plan wasn’t in place. Their loved one’s assets were tied up in the courts. The families had to hire a lawyer to help them navigate the courts and probate process – adding to the financial hardship. All of these situations could have been avoided if a legal place had been put into place.

What’s The Process For Writing For A Will?

When you contact a law firm to help you write a will, an attorney will send you a questionnaire to complete. The list of questions will help you start thinking about how you want to secure your legacy and distribute your assets – whether it’s to family, friends, charities, your place of worship or community – it’s important that your wishes are documented in a legal plan.

The list includes standard questions about your assets (ex. checking and/or savings accounts, property, car, life insurance, etc.) as well your final wishes (Do you want to buried? If so where? Do you want to be cremated? Etc.).

It will also ask questions such as who do you want to execute your will, guardianship for your child/children, and wishes if you were to be come incapacitated. And don’t worry if you’re not quite sure what to include. An estate planning attorney can help guide you and help you think about what will work best for your life.

New Year’s Resolution 

While death isn’t something we like to think about – it’s something that happens to all of us – and one of the best ways we can protect our loved ones is to make a New Year’s resolution to put into place a will or estate plan.

And if you already have a will or estate plan in place, the New Year is always a good time to reflect upon changes in your life and make any necessary changes to your legal plan.

We Can Help

DJ Jeyaram, Esq., is an experienced wills and estate planning attorney who can help you customize a will to best meet your needs and protect your loved ones. Contact DJ at DJ@JeyLaw.com or 678-325-3872.

How To Obtain Guardianship For Your Special Needs Child

Guardianship Attorney GeorgiaIn many states, including Georgia, as soon as your special needs child turns 18, he or she becomes a legal adult and is assumed to be able to make decisions on their own behalf unless a court determines otherwise.

However, if you determine that retaining guardianship over your child once he or she turns 18 is in your child’s best interest, here’s how you do it. (See related post: Is Guardianship The Right Choice When Your Special Needs Child Turns 18?)

Start Planning BEFORE Your Child Turns 18

Requesting guardianship can be a lengthy and involved legal process. In order to retain guardianship of your child, you need to have the court appoint you as your child’s guardian.

To make sure there is not a gap in your child’s guardianship when he or she turns 18, it’s important to prepare your petition to the court well in advance of your child’s 18th birthday. If there is a gap in guardianship (i.e. your child turns 18 before you have guardianship) and a decision needs to be made about your child’s health or legal rights, it could cause some serious problems.

Step-By-Step Process

  • Every state’s guardianship laws differ slightly and the process can be daunting. This is where hiring an attorney to help guide you through the process is beneficial.
  • There are several forms you will need to complete, including forms that will need to be completed by a qualified physician to evaluate your child.
  • Once you submit the forms, your child will need to appear in court with you. As much as possible, you will want to help your child understand the process and what to expect in advance of actually appearing in court.
  • The court will appoint a representative for your child to help determine the merits of your claim that your child is not competent to act on his or her own behalf and that guardianship is in fact the right choice. The representative will most likely want to meet and visit with your child. In addition, in some circumstances, the representative may visit your child at home.
  • Finally, you will need to attend a hearing with your child. At this point, the judge will review and determine if your child is incapacitated and, if so, to what extent he or she requires assistance. Further, the judge will then decide if the person petitioning for guardianship will be appointed as guardian.

Some Things To Consider 

  • You and your spouse or significant other can petition the court to share guardianship. You will become co-guardians.
  • If your child’s need are complex, you can request that a non-profit agency or public or private corporation serve as your child’s guardian.
  • Guardianship may not be the right solution for your child. There are alternatives such as conservator or limited guardianship that give your child more independence.

Once You Are Awarded Guardianship

The paperwork doesn’t stop once you’re awarded guardianship. Every year you will need to file detailed reports about your child’s finances and overall well being. In some states, guardians must also provide proof that they’ve made adequate residential arrangements as well as provided appropriate healthcare services.

If the guardian cannot prove that they have adequately provided for their adult ward, then the court can remove the adult ward and name a different guardian.

Getting Started

As a parent of a special needs child and an attorney with extensive experience with legal issues relating to special needs children, I can help you navigate the complex guardianship process. DJ@JeyLaw.com or 678.325.3872.

7 Reasons Why Online Wills Aren’t The Smartest Choice

Wills Trusts and Estates Attorney GeorgiaGroupon is currently running an ad for 79% off online wills for individuals or couples. The company offering the promotion through Groupon says the online Web site creates wills “in just minutes.” Just “minutes” to map out and protect your assets and document your legacy? What?

Writing a will is NOT something that should be done in a matter of mere minutes. It’s something that should be given careful thought and consideration. The process of writing your will most likely take a couple of hours.

Why Online Wills Are Not The Smartest Choice

Writing a will should be done under the legal guidance of an established estate planning attorney and here are 7 reasons why:

• Online wills provide you with generic “one-size-fits-all” documents that are not tailored to your specific needs. Your life is not a one-size-fits-all. Why should your will be?

• Experienced estate planning attorneys can create personalized plans for you based on a vast array of estate planning tools that “do-it-yourself” online wills do not consider.

• When partnering with a lawyer, you are able to include specific details and information that the online forms do not allow you to include due to space limitations or lack of fields on the forms.

• Online will services also try to “up sell” customers through the process – the low cost offer is often a “hook” for more expensive packages. Almost all estate planning attorneys offer an upfront, flat fee for their wills.

• As your life situations change, your lawyer can easily help you update and change your legal plan as needed so that it to best protects your loved ones and assets. Online forms cannot do this.

• An attorney will keep your will in a locked safe. Online sites always have the potential for being hacked and your personal information compromised.

• An attorney will help you identify ways to minimize your tax liabilities upon your passing. Online will services typically do not provide this feature.

Easier For Your Family

Once your will needs to be executed, your family will need to hire a lawyer. By engaging a lawyer now to assist you with writing a will or estate plan, you are helping your family later as your family will not need to find an attorney to execute your will and they will already be familiar with your attorney.

Protecting Your Loved Ones

When it comes to protecting your family and assets, we recommend investing in the process of writing your will and partnering with an attorney to prevent any future headaches or heartaches. A will is a “living” document that’s designed to protect those you love most, and it deserves more than a generic form that can be completed in minutes. Your life is not generic – neither should your will.

We Can Help

We’re here to help. Our attorneys have extensive experience with helping individuals, families and families with special needs children create legal plans that best protect their assets and their loved ones.

Contact DJ Jeyaram at DJ@JeyLaw.com or 678-325-3872.

 

Giving Back: Delta’s Special Gift To The Autism Community

Autism Delta Airlines TourSpecial guest blog post by Cassandra Jeyaram, DJ’s wife. 

Despite my love of traveling, it’s been years since I’ve flown. My last flight was when our son was 8 months old, and we flew to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for multiple tests and evaluations. At 8 months old, my son Kai was easy to “control” and keep happy.

At 7 years old with a dual diagnosis of Autism and Williams Syndrome, the thought of flying with Kai makes my hands sweat and to be honest, want to throw up. No thank you. We have enough anxiety and stress in just our every day, highly routinized lives. But there are times, when we hear about our friend’s taking family vacations or we see trip pictures on Facebook; and we feel the loss of the freedom to travel more acutely. We want our kids to experience the world, but the thought of flying is daunting.

Like many other children with autism and special needs, Kai thrives on knowing what to expect and at any time, any little thing – a sound or smell or sight – can send him into sensory overload and a meltdown. So going to the Atlanta airport – the world’s busiest airport – and asking him to sit still for more than five minutes seemed out of the question.

Delta’s Here to Help: Taking Flight Tour 

However, Delta has launched a program to try to help parents like me who are anxious about flying with their children with autism and other needs. This past weekend, Kai and attended one of Delta’s “Taking Flight” tours. It’s a free tour of the airport – from security to boarding the plane – to help parents and their children become more comfortable in navigating through the airport and flying.

Kai and I and a few other families were met by two Delta pilots, two Delta gate agents, two Delta members of the Complaint Resolution Office, two Delta flight attendants and the head of Atlanta’s TSA near Delta’s international check in. This Delta team not only understood that there’s a lot for our children to process, but that moms and dads are probably pretty anxious too. (Understatement!)

Members of team shared their personal stories about traveling with children or loved ones who have autism or special needs. Wait what? Pilots and flight attendants who understand that the process of having to take off their shoes to go through security can cause an epic meltdown or that the LOUD whooshing of the airplane toilet can cause our children to meltdown? Wow.

They’re Just Like Me!

The more I talked with the Delta team and they shared tips on how to navigate the process from check in to boarding, I started to feel a glimmer of hope. One of our pilots, Erich Ries has a son who is on the autism spectrum. Erich said he’s traveled with his son more 40 times! It hasn’t always been easy, but they did it and he was so glad they did.

Our other pilot, Angie Millar, has a sister who is autistic and during one of the flights with her sister, her sister experienced a seizure. I couldn’t believe it. Here were people just like me! They talked about how through their professional and personal experiences, they have all probably seen and successfully handled every possible situation with individuals with autism or special needs.

Delta Team’s Personal Travel Tips

Some of the personal tips they shared:

  • Call TSA Cares 72 hours before your flight and let them know you have a child with special needs. They can help you make accommodations for your child to make the entire process at the airport smoother (ex. such as meeting you at check in and helping you bypass the long lines at security – it’s like Disney’s Fast Pass!) (1-855-787-2227)
  • Consider creating a laminated card to give to gate agents, the TSA and flight attendants about your child. I know a lot of parents don’t like to bring attention to their child’s disability, so this is a discrete way we can notify individuals that we need help without making a big production. Gate agents, TSA, flight attendants, etc. can’t help us – if they don’t know.
  • If you’re traveling with another adult, consider having your partner board first and create a “nest” on the airplane. For example, get out toys, electronic devices, blankest, snacks, and other comfort items to make your child more comfortable for the flight. Then, you and your child can board last to minimize the time for potential anxiety to kick in and reduce the amount of time they have to sit still on the plane.
  • Sit near the front of the plane. Maybe not in the very front now because that’s the “bulk head” and there isn’t a place to store your carry on (i.e. no way to access comfort items on quick notice). but the second row so you can store their personal bag under their feet. This not only gives you access to their comfort items, but it gives them something to rest their feet on and potentially reduce their likeliness to kick the seat in front of them (what else are they going do with those dangling, antsy feet?!)
  • Watch videos on YouTube about going to the airport or boarding the plane.
  • Create positive anticipation and excitement about going to the airport and your upcoming trip. Pilot Erich creates a countdown for his son and shares with him lots of fun information about where they are going. They talk about their trips in advance – so the trips aren’t a surprise.
  • Every child is different and the aforementioned tips may or may not work for our kids, but they’re a great foundation to get us to start thinking about ways we can make our kids more comfortable and less anxious about navigating through the airport and flying.

A Very Special Gift

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what I took away from the tour was hope. As we were in the plane, pilot Erich looked at me and said, “You can do this.” I almost started to cry. Here’s someone who gets it and has done it – more than 40 times!

This post is by no means a replacement for the tour, but more of an endorsement of the tour and a hope to encourage other parents to take their children on the “Taking Flight” tour so they too can experience first-hand the sights, sounds and smells of the airport and become more familiar with the entire process.

Thank you Delta Airlines and The Arc for making these tours possible. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences with us and for giving us such an amazing and special gift – confidence to travel and share the world with our loved ones.

A very special thank you to Erich Ries, Angie Millar, Maren Vargas, Dinah Robinson and to all the other amazing members of our Delta tour team! THANK YOU!

Take Delta’s Tour

If you’d like to participate in one of the tours, please contact ACSCRO.ATL@delta.com. The next tour is October 1, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at ATL Airport. You must RSVP as spaces are limited.

Jeyaram & Associates and The Calbos Law Firm Create a One-Stop-Shop for Special Needs Families

Special Needs Law Firm: IEPs, 504 Plans, Special Needs Trusts, GuardianshipCreating the first of its kind in Georgia, Jeyaram & Associates and The Calbos Law Firm are collaborating to provide a one-stop shop of legal services for Georgia families with special needs children.

The two Georgia-based law firms are working together to provide comprehensive legal services and advice for parents and caregivers who need help with:

  • IEPs
  • 504s Plans
  • Education Mediation and Litigation
  • Guardianship
  • Katie Beckett Appeals
  • Medicaid
  • Special Needs Trust Planning
  • Advance & Medical Directives
  • Medical and Durable Power of Attorneys

Both firms have a long history of  advocating for special needs children and ensuring they receive the medical and educational benefits they deserve and need. While both firms have obtained excellent results for their clients separately, together they bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience and offer comprehensive legal services to special needs families and serve as a formidable opposition to government entities.

Jeyaram & Associates and The Calbos Law Firm have extensive professional and personal experience and expertise in helping families with special needs children and are active in the special needs community.

Mr. Jeyaram has a special needs son and Principal Christy Calbos of The Calbos Law Firm has three special needs family members.

Because the two firms are active in the special needs community, they are able to connect families with other professionals and experts who are committed to and specialize in helping special needs families. From financial planners to CPAs and more – the firms have built an extensive and trusted network to help special need families.

About The Calbos Law Firm

Ms. Calbos brings unique expertise and experience to the firm by having represented multiple county school districts prior to representing families with special needs children. She has an intimate understanding of schools’ perspectives as well as families with special needs students. Currently Ms. Calbos represents special needs students for students age 3 to 22 in public schools by ensuring they receive appropriate education and services through IEPs and 504 Plans.

About Jeyaram & Associates

Mr. Jeyaram’s experience as a former Georgia Administrative Law Judge and his current healthcare and estate planning legal practice give him a distinct advantage in helping families navigate the complex government maze for benefits. Mr. Jeyaram has helped more than a 100 families overturn Katie Beckett denials, as well as create Special Needs Trusts to protect their special needs children’s current and future benefits and assets.

 

DJ Jeyaram Quoted in Leading National Medicaid Publication

Screen shot 2016-08-26 at 2.03.18 PMDJ was quoted in the national “Part B News” publication – a leading industry information source for healthcare practice managers and physicians.

Check out DJ’s quotes below in the article: “Negotiate For Patient Record Access When Rival Practices Close:”

Negotiate For Patient Record Access When Rival Practices Close

Increase your patient census and practice revenue when a nearby practice closes by striking a deal for limited access to patient records without paying for the privilege.

In fact, in some cases, the closing practice may pay you.

One of the valuable tangible assets of a practice sale is the patient records that come with it. While the purchaser can’t under HIPAA treat these records as their own until the patients affirm via signed waivers that they want to adopt the new provider, the fact that the buyer is holding the records provides an enormous incentive for them to do so.

It isn’t necessary for the buyer to purchase the entire assets of the practice either, notes Patrick Stanley, an attorney with Comitz | Beethe in Scottsdale, Ariz. Patient records may be included in a limited asset purchase agreement. As with a complete purchase, the retiring practice would then give patients notice and direct them to the purchaser to retrieve their records or, if they choose, continue their care with the new practice. Remember that the patients would have to sign on and have the final say. Note: Laws on the disposition of medical records may vary by state.

How to take custody of records

Vasilios “Bill” Kalogredis, chairman of the health law department of Lamb McErlane in West Chester, Pa., says he has negotiated several arrangements between practices that were closing down and practices that wanted to pick up their patients.

“I see this a lot,” says Kalogredis. “A solo practitioner is retiring and he can’t sell the practice, or he’s leaving one state for another. Hospitals and other practices may not want to buy, but they’re interested in the patients.”

Propose a “custodial” arrangement if buying the practice or part of it is too rich for your blood. In that case, your practice just takes responsibility for the safe- keeping of the other practice’s records. Under such an agreement, when the retiring practice gives notice to its patients, it also would inform them that they can retrieve their records from you and that you also are available to provide continuity of care.

The custodial agreement also should address the length of time that the records will be retained, says D.J. Jeyaram, owner and health care attorney at Jeyaram & Associates in Atlanta.

Consult your legal counsel and malpractice insurance carrier before entering into an agreement to make sure you’re handling things properly from the legal and ethical perspectives, Kalogredis suggests.

Some practices may even receive a fee for accepting this responsibility. But note that while receiving a fee for the storage of medical records would be kosher, an arrangement whereby you pay a fee for the right to store the records “could be seen as remuneration for referrals under the federal anti-kickback statute or its state equivalents,” says Jeyaram.

Mind HIPAA rules

Note that in a custodial arrangement, you would be only holding the patient records — they’re not really your records unless and until the patient releases them to you. “HIPAA only allows for the exchange of protected health information (PHI) without a written release if the transfer is between current or prior health care providers for the purposes of providing treatment,” says Jeyaram.

In this circumstance, under HIPAA, you would be a business associate (BA) of the transferring practice that remains the covered entity, says Jeyaram, and you should execute a business associate agreement (BAA) (PBN 7/11/16).

The BAA, which ensures HIPAA compliance in the transfer and storage of records, should be referenced in the custody agreement, Jeyaram says.
Note that though it varies by state, responsibility for retention of medical records is usually seven years or longer; be prepared to follow through on that if you accept responsibility.

Remember: A custodial arrangement gives you a good shot at inheriting these patients, but it’s not “exclusive” — in some states and under some contracts, other providers from the closed-down practice may take their patient lists with them and reach out to these patients too. In the end, it’s always the patient’s choice (PBN 5/2/16). — Roy Edroso (redroso@decisionhealth.com)

Visit http://pbn.decisionhealth.com/ to learn more.CompressedPartBNewsNegotiatePatientRecords8.16-min.pdf”CompressedPartBNewsNegotiatePatientRecords8.16-min.pdf”