Basic Training: S is for Stop, Look and License

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq., owner of Ask The Business Lawyer, is an award-winning business attorney, speaker, and Entrepreneur Magazine online contributor. She saves consulting and professional services companies time, money, and aggravation by serving as their outsourced legal counsel.

Posted on June 17, 2014 in IP & Social Media

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Any time you want to delve into areas of health or health care, it’s wise to consult a local attorney who’s familiar with those regulations. Otherwise, you could be found to be practicing medicine without a license . . . which gets you into a world of hurt.

Q.: “I am a licensed practical nurse and want to start a business as a nurse entrepreneur in the area of patient advocacy. I will not necessarily be giving medical advice but will act as a “go-between” or liaison between patients, their families, doctors and insurance companies to help patients negotiate the health-care system. I also will act as an educator so that people understand their choices and be able to clear up misunderstandings about care and their health. I also want to do this online.”

A.: There are several steps to investigate.

First, business formation. It’s very state-specific, as are special licenses and permissions for patient advocacy/education work. A local attorney could help determine the exact permissions needed. Look for one with experience dealing with professional (medical) practices or patient advocacy businesses, as he or she will be familiar with the rules and nuances of the medical profession. My program, How to Choose and Use Attorneys, can give you a lot of guidance about how to find the lawyer who’s right for your business situation.

Second, business insurance. A business insurance professional should be able to identify whether some form of malpractice insurance will be needed if you’re providing medical “education” without actually practicing medicine. This could help protect against any personal liability for advice given (so that unhappy clients can’t do an end run around the business entity).

Finally, business planning. How to charge for these services? Is it the kind of service that will be covered by insurance? If not, will people be willing to pay for it? How much? Will that be enough to 1. meet business expenses, 2. meet personal expenses and 3. have the growth potential to build a company? A savvy accountant can help get a clear handle on personal and business budgets to know what target numbers to reach–and by when.

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