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    Top 5 ways you break the law in your practice

    How you can avoid these legal pitfalls

    One of the first lessons doctors learn once they actually get into practice is that we are all in business. The business aspect of optometric practice is comprised of multiple layers and elements that are challenging at best. New laws and regulations occur annually and oftentimes more frequently. They may be federal, state, or local laws and ordinances or labor laws encompassing minimum wage, overtime, working conditions, etc. In addition, they may be profession specific, originating from state board regulation changes or legislative enactments. Sometimes, it can be difficult separating the business side from our professional side because they often intertwine.

    Noncompliance with any of these laws or regulations may be simple ignorance, a matter of seeing just how close you can come to the edge of the legal system without going over, or an outright and knowing violation of existing or new changes. In the latter instance, there is the hope that we won’t get caught—or if we do, we can plea bargain or argue our way out of the consequences.

    More practice management: Recovering from a fire in the optometry practice

    Simple ignorance, while no excuse in the eyes of the law, does occur. We all make mistakes, and we all are ignorant of new changes in laws and regulations. Typically, these transgressions are minor and easily corrected, once they are discovered. Continued disregard, once we are aware of the problem, can lead to significant and highly detrimental consequences. Those include sanctions by your state board; publication of those sanctions, fines, probationary status, etc.; postings of said sanctions on the state board website for consumers and your patients to view, and more.

    Of course, prosecution by the state board or other appropriate law enforcement personnel can also occur. The end result will be unpleasant in the least and can be extraordinarily detrimental to your reputation, your psyche, wallet, patient goodwill, staff morale, and marketability of your practice.

    There are several areas in which doctors tend to go astray, sometimes with total disregard of the ultimate outcome. But most instances are mistakes made in the innocent day-to-day decisions we experience in running our practices where we just don't think until it becomes a serious and often destructive force.

    With this in mind, let's explore several of those treacherous areas that pose a potential risk. Here are the top five.

    Next: Theft


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