As medical lawyers, we unburden the healthcase sector

As medical lawyers, we unburden the healthcase sector

What rights and obligations do you have as a healthcare provider? What are the responsibilities of hospitals and medical organizations? And when are you liable or not? Medical law is a challenging subject; dynamic and extensive regulations that they often don’t give you in school. However, in the healthcare sector you are confronted with this matter on a daily basis and legal situations can have a significant impact on the performance of your professional activity.

In such scenarios Lisa and Eline come into the picture: two trained lawyers who want to enrich the world of healthcare with their experience in medical law and provide guidance and provide legal relief. Thanks to their own expertise, personal connections and the support of specialized colleagues, every actor in the medical world can rely on their extensive knowledge and skills.

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“Medical law”, this term suggests that it concerns a branch of law specifically in a healthcare-related context. How can you best describe the field?

Eline: “Medical law actually consists of a whole of different legal areas within healthcare. And precisely because it is such an overarching concept, you can come into contact with various legal problems from various branches of law in one file.”

Lisa: “More concretely, this can concern, for example, hospital law, company law, public law, liability law, criminal law, disciplinary law, social law, commercial law and GDPR; of course always within a medical context. Medical law is therefore a very extensive legal branch of law, which means that we also have a broad customer base: every entity in the medical sector can contact us for legal advice.”

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That’s a lot! You cover that together?

Eline: “Yes, but our team is already growing! Last year Michael strengthened our team. He is pursuing a postgraduate degree in Health Law and Health Ethics at the University of Antwerp. His parents’ medical background and his own knowledge of the sector make him a strong asset to our team.”

Lisa: “And within our team we work completely complementary. Each of us has a specific expertise on the basis of which we entrust files to each other and, if necessary, we pool our knowledge. In this way, we always use our specialties efficiently to offer optimal operation and thorough guidance.”

Eline: “Actually, we are also a bit lucky. Both Lisa’s close circle of friends and family and that of Michaël and me are very active in the healthcare sector. For example, from childhood I heard all the nursing stories from my mom. They unconsciously give us so much information about what is going on in the healthcare sector, and – more importantly – where legal help is needed.”

A shared interest, but you each have your focus?

Lisa: “Yes, corporate law, for example, is Eline’s thing. Due to her academic background and experience, she is able to assist the healthcare sector in drawing up association contracts and similar agreements, for example between hospitals and doctors or when doctors’ practices wish to expand. She also handles mergers and acquisitions. Recently, for example, Eline supervised the transfer of a local pharmacy to a large group.”

Eline: “Medical aids also fall within my scope. And that is very interesting and topical matter! The questions often come from the IT sector, for example about certain software. In order to be qualified as a medical device, the product has to comply with strict laws and that is not always so obvious. A Fitbit, for example, is that a medical device or not?”

And you Lisa?

Lisa: “Questions that come to me are often linked to liability, disciplinary/criminal or commercial law. For example, I focus on collaboration and service agreements. In addition, I am often involved in complex situations regarding liability or with questions regarding professional secrecy. These are always delicate issues that healthcare providers and institutions regularly come into contact with.”

“Covid-19 made me realize again how much I can legally mean to healthcare providers. For example, a pressing question today is whether hospitals can requisition doctors” – Lisa

So there are a lot of different situations in which customers can turn to you, but I can imagine some issues require even more in-depth expertise, right?

Eline: “It certainly is! And that’s a big advantage of Monard Law: we always work in teams here, which means we can fall back on a large base of experts. For example, the hospital sector often involves public tenders. In such cases, we can, if necessary, seek advice from our colleagues who specialize in public law.”

Lisa: “As soon as a colleague has more in-depth knowledge about a certain subject, we will always involve him or her in the case. If necessary, Eline and I will invite that colleague for a joint conversation with the customer.”

“It’s important to be close to my customers. In-house assignments in hospitals, for example, give us experiences that go beyond the purely legal. ” – Elin

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These are all situations in which the customer comes to you with questions. Are you also trying to proactively approach the medical world?

Eline: “Yes, we give seminars and sessions to keep the healthcare sector up-to-date and to inform them, but also to prevent unpleasant situations. We notice a major shortcoming in schools, for example: medical law is not or hardly discussed during medical education. As a result of which young doctors or other care providers are insufficiently informed about their rights and obligations. For example, recent graduates often assume that a first association agreement is non-negotiable. This is a big misunderstanding! It is just important to communicate openly about this from the start, so that later conflicts can be avoided.”

Lisa: “Not only individuals but also established organizations have a lot of questions today. Consider, for example, the functioning of care networks during the current crisis. That’s why Monard Law launched the free online corona helpdesk to actively support entrepreneurs, organizations and healthcare institutions. We remain ready and accessible via digital means.”

“I want caregivers like my mom to be able to go to bed at ease at the end of the day.” – Eline

You recognize Monard Law’s mission in this ambition: to be a guide and partner for all clients. How do you complete that mission?

Eline: “That is what we guarantee as an office and we believe in that ourselves. That is why we find this proactive attitude so important. We really help our client if we can prevent problems.”

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Monard Law has several missions. Which one do you most identify with?

Lisa: “ Offer support and care . Offering support is the most important task of a lawyer. And certainly in this time of COVID you notice that there is a great need for this in the healthcare sector. The sector is under such pressure that they must be able to entrust legal problems and questions to lawyers who are there for them day and night, just as they are there for their patients day in day out.”

“What do you do as a doctor when you suspect domestic violence? Report or remain silent, it can both result in a sanction.” – Lisa

That’s a nice goal. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

Eline: “Professionally, I hope that we can continue to practice our job with just as much passion and that as a team we will become a real confidant for everyone who is active in the medical sector.”

A warm call from Lisa and Eline to end this article:

“By being close to our customers, we realize how important it is to be quickly available as a sounding board for all medical professions. The health sector faces many legal challenges. We are open to any form of dialogue or brainstorm in the first instance free of charge about the questions that arise in the market. In this way, we hope to be able to contribute to the health sector.”

The multidisciplinary Monard Law team

Due to the unique composition of Monard Law, they can use different specific skills for each project.

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