As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, the role of management services organizations (MSOs) has become increasingly important. One aspect of the MSO`s role is the management services agreement (MSA) between the MSO and the healthcare provider organization. One area of concern for providers is the corporate practice of medicine doctrine, which restricts the ability of non-medical entities to control the practice of medicine. This article explores the legal and practical considerations of MSAs in the context of corporate practice of medicine.
Corporate practice of medicine is a legal doctrine that prohibits non-physicians from interfering with the practice of medicine. The rationale behind the doctrine is to ensure that medical decisions are made by licensed professionals who are held to ethical and legal standards. Corporate practice of medicine laws vary by state, but they typically restrict the ownership, control, or management of medical practices by non-physicians.
In the context of MSAs, corporate practice of medicine concerns arise when an MSO provides management services to a healthcare provider organization. The MSO may provide administrative, financial, or other support services, but it must be careful not to interfere with the medical decision-making process. If the MSO takes on too much control over the practice of medicine, it could face legal liability for violating corporate practice of medicine laws.
To avoid running afoul of corporate practice of medicine laws, MSAs should be carefully drafted to ensure that the MSO`s role is limited to supporting the provider organization. This means that the MSO cannot make medical decisions, supervise or direct medical professionals, or otherwise interfere with the practice of medicine. The provider organization must retain control over medical decisions, patient care, and related matters.
MSAs should include provisions that address the corporate practice of medicine issue, such as a statement of the provider organization`s authority to make medical decisions, a requirement that the MSO comply with all applicable laws and regulations, and a provision that the MSO will not interfere with the practice of medicine. The MSA should also clearly define the respective roles and responsibilities of the provider organization and the MSO, including any limitations on the MSO`s authority.
It is also important for the provider organization to maintain appropriate licenses and certifications, as well as comply with all applicable laws and regulations. The provider organization must ensure that it retains control over medical decisions, policies, and procedures, while the MSO provides support services only.
In conclusion, the corporate practice of medicine doctrine is an important consideration for healthcare providers and MSOs entering into management services agreements. The provider organization must retain control over medical decisions and related matters, while the MSO provides support services. The MSA should include provisions that address the corporate practice of medicine issue and clearly define the respective roles and responsibilities of the provider organization and the MSO. By carefully balancing these factors, healthcare providers and MSOs can enter into effective and legally compliant MSAs.