Inspections are not uncommon in the world of healthcare and life sciences. State licensing boards, DEA, and other oversight agencies at times assert a right to inspect a medical practice or pharmacy. They usually show up unscheduled and at an inopportune time, and claim that they have an immediate right to inspect. Keep in mind that inspections have to be reasonable, and within the scope/mission of the agency seeking to inspect. Whether the inspection can take place at the time demanded or should be rescheduled, and whether the records requested are within the scope of the agency’s oversight authority, are questions for legal counsel.
Although the agency may have a right to inspect, the right to inspect does not equal the right to interrogate, and an inspection should never morph into an interrogation. During an inspection, or at anytime, substantive questions dealing with your operation, such as – but not limited to – procedures and protocols, record keeping, coding, billing, medical necessity, inventory reconciliation, waiver of co-pays, use of prescription coupons, safety of prescription pads, use of the prescription monitoring program, etc., should not be answered outside the presence of legal counsel. Any questions posed should be referred to counsel, who in turn can advise you if, when, and how the questions should be answered. Remember any answers and statements can be used against you not only in an administrative/oversight setting, but also in a criminal forum.
It is extremely important to have only one person act as a liaison to authorities during an inspection, and to have the presence of mind during such an alarming visit to assert your right to counsel. Most importantly, remember authorities cannot make you answer questions on-the-spot once you indicate you wish to speak with counsel, and asserting a right to counsel is not a violation of any duty to cooperate that an oversight agency may claim you have.
How Frier Levitt Can Help
Frier Levitt is made up of attorneys with extensive experience in assisting clients who are the subject of inspections as well as demands for records and information from Government investigatory and oversight agencies. If confronted with either a request for a scheduled inspection, or with a surprise inspection, contact Frier Levitt immediately and speak to an attorney in our firm’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Government Investigations Group.