Archive for August, 2011


CCHIT Certification

Friday, August 26th, 2011

By now, most healthcare organizations realize that if they want EHR incentive payments, their EHR software needs to be certified.  With the explosion of healthcare organizations shopping for certified EHR products, the certification process has become a frequently asked question.  Exactly HOW do EHR products receive their certification?  WHAT practice areas are eligible for certification?

The CCHIT Certified® 2011 certification program is one of two distinct programs of certification offered by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®):

  • CCHIT Certified® 2011
  • ONC-ATCB 2011/2012

On the most basic level, when CCHIT is inspecting a product for review, they are looking at three areas: functionality, interoperability, and security.

CCHIT currently offers certification in the following six areas, plus optional certifications in the subcategories:

1. Ambulatory EHR

  • Child Health
  • Cardiovascular
  • Behavioral Health
  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Research
  • Women’s Health
  • Oncology

2.  Inpatient EHR

3.  Emergency Department EHR

4.  Behavioral Health EHR

5.  Long Term & Post Acute Care EHR

  • Skilled Nursing Facility
  • Home Health

6.  ePrescribing

Enterprise Certification Option

For applicants offering EHR product(s) in three specific 2011 certification domains–Ambulatory, Inpatient, and Emergency Department–CCHIT offers an optional Enterprise certification.  To obtain the optional Enterprise certification, applicants will be required to execute the Enterprise Test Script that demonstrates interoperability and integration between all three domains.  It is important to note that if at anytime any of the 3 core Ambulatory, Inpatient, or Emergency Department certifications expire, are revoked, or suspended, the Enterprise certification option will also be expired, revoked, or suspended at the same time.


To read the current CCHIT 2011 Certification Handbook, which provides much more detail on the certification process, click here. (76 page .pdf file)

To see an example of the certification criteria for Ambulatory EHR, go here.  To see the criteria for the sub-specialty of Child Health, go here.

At Matthews Law Firm, P.A., we practice healthcare compliance law.

(Disclaimer: This post is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)


Florida’s New ‘Power of Attorney’ Law

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Ever executed a Power of Attorney (POA), or are you considering having one done in the future?   Are you about to become the agent for someone signing a POA?  Either way, you’ll want to make sure the attorney drafting the form is aware of the new changes in Florida’s POA law.  The new POA law goes into effect October 1, 2011.

The new law can be found in Chapter 709, Florida Statutes.

Some of the new aspects of the law include:

  • Defining terms (such as “agent”, “durable”, “incapacity”, “power of attorney”, and others)
  • Changes WHEN some POA’s can become effective.  Springing Powers of Attorney are no longer valid.  (A Springing POA is one that does not become effective UNTIL the principal becomes incapacitated.)
  • Adds new provisions to deal with reimbursement and compensation.
  • Provides more detail on the duties of an agent, including mandatory duties that cannot be waived, and default duties that can be waived.
  • Clarifies the authority of agents.  An agent may only exercise the authority specifically granted in the POA and any authority reasonably necessary to effectuate the express authority granted in the POA.

The new POA law, although making some broad changes, left certain aspects of the law unchanged.  For example:

  • The execution of a POA is still the same.  The POA must be signed by the principal and by two witnesses and be acknowledged by the principal before a notary public.
  • The qualifications of the agent remain the same.  The agent must be a natural person who is 18 years of age or older, or a financial institution that has trust powers, has a place of business in Florida, and is authorized to conduct trust business in Florida.

(Disclaimer: This post is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

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Meaningful Use for Eligible Professionals

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

At Matthews Law Firm, P.A., we practice healthcare compliance law, including legal issues which arise with the EHR Incentive Program.  Some of those issues involve advising clients about EHR meaningful use requirements.

In Florida, Medicaid eligible professionals (EP’s) do not have to demonstrate meaningful use in their first payment year. They only have to demonstrate that they have adopted, implemented, or upgraded certified EHR technology.

In order for an eligible professional to receive payment in the second year of participation, they will have to attest to meaningful use of certified EHR for a continuous 90-day period. In subsequent years, the meaningful use reporting period is the entire calendar year.

What do EP’s have to do in order to show meaningful use?

To qualify for an incentive payment, EPs must meet 20 of the 25 meaningful use objectives identified by CMS.  There are 15 required core objectives an EP will have to show in order to receive incentive payments (starting with the 2nd payment).  The remaining 5 objectives may be chosen from the list of 10 Menu Set Objectives.


In Florida, AHCA has a great website which can help explain each of the core objectives of meaningful use. (Go about halfway down the page under the ‘Eligible Professionals’ subsection.)

For a chart which summarizes the meaningful use core objectives and measure sets, go here. (This is a useful chart because it links to each meaningful use objective and explains each one in detailed format.)

(Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

At Matthews Law Firm, P.A., we practice healthcare compliance.

Gambling Operations-Part 5: Renaming a Town

Friday, August 19th, 2011

(This is the final post in a series of blogs related to gambling operations in Florida.)

Throughout this series of posts, we have discussed some of the gambling laws in Florida, including the legality of different types of games.  This post will be a little different, as it will focus on the stigma of gambling.

Keno, Florida

Did you know that there once was a town called Keno, Florida?  That’s right, you won’t find it on a current map, however.  And it was all because of the post office and the stigma of being known as gambling town.

Back in the 1870’s, Colonel Whetstone ran the general store in Keno, Florida.  In 1876, Whetstone applied for a post office to be located in Keno.  However, the post office denied the request because the name “Keno” means to gamble.  Mr. Whetstone then changed the town name to Leno to justify that it was a decent town. The post office was put upstairs above the general store, along with the telegraph office.

Due to the railroad bypassing Leno, the town gradually died out and became a ghost town.  The last known record from the town of Leno is from 1896.  Local residents started calling the abandoned town “Old Leno”, which over time was shortened to O’Leno.

Currently, the area originally known as Keno became O’Leno State Park in Columbia County, Florida.

For more information on O’Leno State Park, click here.

And THAT is how the stigma of being known as a gambling town forced one Florida town to change its name.

(Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

Gambling Operations (Part 4): Cardrooms

Friday, August 19th, 2011

In Florida, a distinction has been made between pari-mutuel style games and casino gaming.

(This is Part 4 in a five-part series discussing gambling operations in Florida, from a criminal defense perspective.)

As with Bingo and certain penny-ante games, cardrooms are legal if certain conditions are satisfied.  Generally speaking, it is not a crime for a person to participate in an authorized game at a licensed cardroom or to operate a cardroom if such game and cardroom operation are conducted strictly in accordance with the provisions of the cardroom statute.

The Cardroom Statute

The cardroom statute is can be found at 849.086.  It became a law in 1996 and was last revised in 2010.  The statute is somewhat lengthy and covers the following topics (not an exhaustive list):

  • Conditions for operating a cardroom
  • Method of wagers
  • Prohibited activities

A “cardroom” is defined as a facility where authorized games are played for money or anything of value and to which the public is invited to participate in such games and charged a fee for participation by the operator of such facility.  Authorized games and cardrooms do not constitute casino gaming operations. In fact, the statute states that authorized cardroom games are considered to be pari-mutuel style games and not casino gaming because the participants play against each other instead of against the house.

Did You Know?

  • No electronic or mechanical devices, except mechanical card shufflers, may be used to conduct any authorized game in a cardroom. (849.086 (12)(c))
  • Each licensee operating a cardroom shall keep and maintain permanent daily records of its cardroom operation and shall maintain such records for a period of not less than 3 years. (849.086 (11)(a))
  • Cardrooms may be open daily throughout the year.  The cardroom may be open a cumulative amount of 18 hours per day on Monday through Friday and 24 hours per day on Saturday and Sunday and some holidays. (849.086 (7)(b))
  • Any person who operates a cardroom without a valid license commits a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in Florida state prison. (849.086 (15)(a))

(Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

Gambling Operations: Penny-Ante Games–Part 3

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

This is Part 3 in a five-part series devoted to gambling laws in Florida.

As we discussed in Part 2 (dealing with Bingo), because the gambling statute was written so broadly, the legislature, over the years, has created certain exceptions to gambling.  Bingo was one such exception.  Another exception is certain penny-ante games.

Penny-Ante Games

The penny-ante game exception can be found at 849.085.  The penny-ante exception was created in 1989 and was last revised in 2001.  Don’t know what a penny-ante game is?  Here’s how the law defines it:

“Penny-ante game” means a game or series of games of poker, pinochle, bridge, rummy, canasta, hearts, dominoes, or mah-jongg in which the winnings of any player in a certain round, hand, or game do not exceed $10 in value.

Restrictions on Penny-Ante Games

The law places five restrictions on penny-ante games.  It is not a crime to participate in a penny-ante game if such game is conducted strictly in accordance with this law.

1.  The game must be conducted in a dwelling.

2.  A person may not receive any consideration or commission for allowing a penny-ante game to occur in his or her dwelling.

3.  A person may not directly or indirectly charge admission or any other fee for participation in the game.

4.  A person may not solicit participants by means of advertising in any form, advertise the time or place of any penny-ante game, or advertise the fact that he or she will be a participant in any penny-ante game.

5. A penny-ante game may not be conducted in which any participant is under 18 years of age.

Interestingly, a debt created or owed as a consequence of any penny-ante game is not legally enforceable.  Also of interest, the penny-ante statute does not mention criminal punishment (i.e., whether the crime is a felony or misdemeanor).

(Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

Gambling Operations: BINGO–Part 2

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

This is Part 2 in a five-part series dedicated to gambling operations in Florida.

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the broad definition and scope of the gambling statute in Florida.  But there is good news, BINGO is allowed…under certain conditions, that is.

BINGO Statute

The Bingo statute can be found at 849.0931.  The Bingo exception was written into law in 1992 and was last modified in 2007.

Interesting Parts of the BINGO Law

Bingo is not the most complicated game in the world.  There’s the number cards, the bingo balls, and a person calling out B-14.  Since the game is fairly simple, you’d think the statute would be pretty simple too, right?  W-R-O-N-G!  The Bingo statute goes into painstaking detail over the rules.  It is important to follow these rules, as failure to do so may result in an illegal Bingo game.  Here’s a few highlights from the statute that show the level of detail in the Bingo law.

1.  The statute actually defines terms such as: bingo game, bingo card, deal, flare, instant bingo, objects, rack, receptacle, and session.

2.  Did you know that no one under the age of 18 is allowed to play any bingo game or instant bingo game? (849.0931 (10)(a))

3.  Except for instant bingo, the number of days per week during which organizations authorized under this law may conduct Bingo is two. (849.0931 (6)).

4.  Except for instant bingo prizes, which are limited to the amounts displayed on the ticket or on the game flare, there shall be no more than three jackpots on any one day of play.  All other game prizes shall not exceed $50. (849.0931 (7)).

5.  Upon determining a winner, the caller shall ask,  “Are there any other winners?”  If no one replies, the caller shall declare the game closed.  No other player is entitled to share the prize unless she or he has declared a bingo prior to this announcement. (849.0931 (12)(h)).

6.  A violation of the bingo law is a first degree misdemeanor.  For a second offense, the crime becomes a third degree felony.

So there you have it, all you ever wanted to know about Bingo!  Now go out and play…and WIN!

(Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

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Gambling Operations–Part 1

Monday, August 15th, 2011

This is the first in a five-part series about gambling operations in Florida.

There has been a recent increase in gambling arrests across Polk County, Florida.  This is an interesting area to discuss because the term “gambling” can mean different things to different people, such as: bingo, card games, slot machines, the lottery, and betting on sports games, etc.  It is important for a criminal defense attorney to be knowledgeable in all facets of the gambling laws, not only to know what activities are illegal, but also to know what types of activities are legitimate.

In general, Florida’s gambling laws can be found in Chapter 849, Florida Statutes. Interestingly, the word “gambling” is not defined.  The closest the legislature comes in defining the term can be found at 849.08, where the activity of “gambling” is criminalized:

Gambling—Whoever plays or engages in any game at cards, keno, roulette, faro or other game of chance, at any place, by any device whatever, for money or other thing of value, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree…

Notice how broadly this statute is written.  Whoever…plays…any…game of chance…at any place…by any device…for money or other thing of value…shall be guilty of gambling.

Perhaps because this statute was written so broadly, the legislature wrote other laws providing for some exceptions to gambling.  Later posts will cover this topic, and will relate to cardhouses, penny-ante games, and bingo.

(Disclaimer: This post does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.)

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Restitution & Causation in Florida

Monday, August 8th, 2011

The Florida Second DCA has issued an opinion in M.P. v. State (2D10-2046) involving the issue of restitution on an accessory after the fact criminal charge. (For the full opinion, go here.)  The Court held that in order for restitution be ordered against a Defendant, there must be a significant relationship between the crime committed and damage to the victim.

For restitution to be imposed against M.P., the victim’s loss must be caused directly or indirectly by M.P.’s offense. See§ 775.089(1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2009). There must be a significant relationship between the crime committed and damage to the victim. Gourley v. State, 590 So. 2d 482, 484 n.3 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991) (stating the test and noting that a conviction for accessory after the fact is inconsistent with a finding that a defendant and codefendant acted in concert). When evidence does not show that a defendant acted in concert with a codefendant in causing the damages, the trial court should not impose restitution. Id. at 483-84; see also State v. Williams, 520 So. 2d 276, 277-78 (Fla. 1988) (holding that defendant was not required to pay restitution to the victim where damages to the victim were not caused by defendant’s leaving the scene of the accident); Milton v. State, 644 So. 2d 143, 144 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994) (holding that defendant convicted of theft but who was not associated with burglary could not be required to make restitution for any items not included in the information); Faulkner v. State, 582 So. 2d 783, 784 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991) (holding that restitution order may be sustained only where State has demonstrated a significant relationship between loss or damage sustained by victim and defendant’s acts in committing the offense for which he was charged and convicted).