January 16, 2014

Steven D. Brownlee, MBA, MD, Esq. Joins Chapman Law Group

Dr. Brownlee joins Chapman Law Group's health law practice as a physician-attorney. His experience in medicine, medical management consulting, and the practice of law makes him a valuable asset to the firm's health law practice and clients.


Dr. Steven D. Brownlee’s professional career spans ten years in a variety of fields including the practice of medicine in Pittsburgh, PA, medical management consulting, and the practice of law with a concentration in healthcare. Steven’s prior experience and training as a physician and medical management consultant makes him ideally suited as a healthcare attorney.

Steven’s education and work experience makes him ideally suited to assist all healthcare professionals in the areas of professional licensing, Medicare/Medicaid issues, DEA issues, medical management, medical malpractice, physician contracts, and virtually all issues facing the modern healthcare professional. Steven’s knowledge of medical diagnosis and treatment combined with his legal expertise make him a formidable advocate for his clients.

Throughout Steven’s career he worked with healthcare professionals and is continually impressed with the commitment, dedication and sacrifices that healthcare professionals make on a daily basis. Steven puts forth the same commitment, dedication and sacrifice into the practice of law defending the rights of healthcare professionals. Steven’s primary practice is in the areas of professional licensing, physicians’ contracts, medical malpractice defense, and all issues relating to healthcare.

For more information about Steven D. Brownlee, MBA, MD, Esq., visit www.chapmanlawgroup.com

July 10, 2013

Chapman Law Group Welcomes Ronald W. Chapman, II Esq.

While Ronald W. Chapman, II is our newest attorney to the firm, we will not be calling him "junior". Ron joins us after a career as a Judge Advocate for the United States Marine Corps


While Ronald W. Chapman, II is our newest attorney to the firm, we will not be calling him "junior". Ron joins us after a career as a Judge Advocate for the United States Marine Corps. His assignments included a deployment to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom where he served as the legal advisor to a Marine unit during combat operations. His duties included: advising commanders on operational law including use of force; fiscal and contract law; administrative law; and construction and operation of a detention facility used to house insurgents.

Ron returned from Afghanistan and was selected to serve as the senior operational law advisor to an organization of over 30,000 members. As senior operational law advisor his duties focused on administrative investigations, use of force, national security law, and intelligence law. His experience in the areas of administrative law, administrative investigations, and criminal law make him a valuable asset to our team. Ron will focus his work in the area of correctional law, medical malpractice, health law and professional licensing, continuing our efforts to build a strong team dedicated to helping the health care providers.

If you require assistance with a professional licensing, correctional law or health law matter, please contact Chapman Law Group at (866) 238-0203. For more information about the firm, please visit www.chapmanlawgroup.com

April 10, 2013

Chapman Law Group Welcomes Nurse Attorney Marian Wangler Ratton, RN, Esq.

Marian Wangler Ratton, RN, Esq. joins Chapman Law Group after a long career as a practicing nurse and attorney. With over 25 years experience as a registered nurse and attorney, Marian brings a wealth of experience to the firm's healthcare practice.


Nurse attorney Marian Wangler Ratton, R.N., Esq. is a practicing attorney and registered nurse who has dedicated her career to the defense of healthcare professionals as well as practicing family law and estate planning. What makes Marian unique is that she has continuously practiced both nursing and law for over 25 years, sharing her time equally between both careers. Her combined knowledge and experience in law and nursing makes her ideally suited to represent, advise and educate nurses and health care professionals with legal issues relating to nursing, healthcare law and professional licensing.

Since 1983 Marian has been a registered nurse working at several Metro Detroit Hospitals. She is an experienced ICU and cardiovascular nurse as well as an educator and preceptor. Marian has taught classes in Medical-Legal Ethics in Healthcare at local colleges and has been a speaker at women's seminars on the topics of family law and estate planning. In 1988 she earned her Juris Doctor and worked at several firms practicing medical malpractice before starting her own firm in 1992 with her husband. During such time, Marian worked as a legal nurse consultant and focused her practice on family law, estate planning and probate.

With over 30 years experience as a registered nurse, Marian brings a wealth of experience to the firm's healthcare practice and is a valuable asset to our nursing and healthcare clients who require legal representation and advice for health law matters, specifically nurse licensure and nursing medical malpractice.

If you require assistance with a nursing licensing, nursing malpractice or health law matter, please contact Chapman Law Group at (866) 238-0203. For more information about the firm, please visit www.chapmanlawgroup.com

January 21, 2013

New Medical Malpractice Legislation Aims to Strengthen Tort Reform

/ While Improving Patients' Quality of Health Care


Governor Rick Snyder signed Senate Bills 1115 and 1118 into law on January 9th. The Sentate Bills which were part of the Patients First Reform Package are now Public Acts 608 and 609, which aim to strengthen tort laws.

Senate Bill 1115 clarifies noneconomic damages in medical malpractice claims and how they are to be calculated and limited, while Senate Bill 1118 decreases the amount of time personal representatives have to bring medical malpractice claims. Additionally, Sentate Bill 1115 requires the total judgment amount be reduced by the percentage of plaintiff's fault and the amount of all settlements paid by all joint tortfeasors and reduces the amount of future damages to present values at a rate of 5% per year for every year in which the damages accrue.

The legislation, which was initiated by the Michigan State Medical Society and The Doctors Company, aims to increase patients' access and quality of health care by allowing physicians to focus more on care and less on defensive medicine. While some critics question the Senate Bills' ability to improve Michigan patients' access to health care, many physicians support the Senate Bills and believe the law will allow them to keep their eyes fixed on what is best for their patients.

If you have received a letter of investigation, Notice of Intent (NOI) or a complaint, please contact our medical malpractice attorneys at Chapman Law Group. For over 20 years, we have been defending health professionals and would be honored to assist you.

November 29, 2012

E-FORCSE Database is a Backdoor in for DEA, DOH and AG Investigations


Until recently, Florida had been the favored choice for pill mills and addicts because of its weak oversight of pain management clinics and physician dispensing habits. In 2011, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi launched the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) in an effort to improve public safety and reduce the states high rate of prescription drug related deaths. Since the launch of the program, significant changes have been made that increase the requirements for physicians prescribing highly abusive controlled substances such as Vicodin, Xanax and Oxycontin. The most significant change was the implementation of the Electronic-Florida Online Reporting of Controlled Substances Evaluation database (E-FORCSE) which requires health practitioners to report prescribing and dispensing information of controlled substances within seven days after being dispensed.

While reporting prescribing information is mandatory, verifying patient’s information in E-FORCSE prior to prescribing is not mandatory by state law. Although a useful tool in helping doctors identify patients who may be diverting controlled substances to the illegal drug market, a majority of prescribers do not actively use E-FORCSE as a preventative measure. A recent Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed that of the 48 million controlled substance prescriptions written since the inception of the database, only 2.5% of prescribers consulted the database prior to writing prescriptions. The investigation also revealed fewer than 1 in 12 has ever used the database.

Why should health practitioners use the database?

Doctors are increasingly becoming subject to investigations and administrative complaints as a result of prescriptions written to unsuspected addicts and dealers. As part of the PDMP, a Drug Enforcement Strike Force was created not only to identify and prosecute drug traffickers, addicts and illegal pill mills, but also health practitioners who prescribe and dispense controlled substances outside the standard of care or violate state laws. The Florida Surgeon General has been aggressively suspending practitioners' licenses and is encouraging the Board of Medicine and Board of Pharmacy to take an equally aggressive approach.

Since the program’s inception one year ago, there has been a significant reduction in the number of pill mills in business and now it seems as though lawmakers and enforcement agencies have set their sights on health practitioners to clean up the rest of the problem. The PDMP, through the use of the strike force, E-FORCSE database and InSite database, have joined together and combined their intelligence to aggressively prosecute health practitioners who violate the standard of care or prescribe to "doctor shopping" patients. E-FORCSE is HIPAA compliant and allows the task force, the Florida Department of Health and the Drug Enforcement Administration to view health practitioners prescribing information without a warrant, making it faster and easier for agencies to red-flag and investigate practitioners with irregular or excessive prescribing habits.

While not mandatory by state law, several counties and cities have ordinances requiring some physicians and clinics to review and retain patient information from E-FORCSE prior to prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance. It seems as though similar laws will soon become effective at the state level.

With frequent changes in the law and harsher penalties, health practitioners must remain aware of the rules that govern their practice and need to take a proactive approach in protecting their license and practice. Reviewing patient information on E-FORCSE prior to prescribing highly addictive controlled substances is one such proactive measure that could be a very useful defense in the unfortunate event that a practitioner faces licensing action.

If you have received a letter of investigation, administrative complaint, or summary suspension or would like additional information, please contact our professional licensing attorneys at Chapman Law GroupFor over 20 years, we have been defending health professionals and would be honored to assist you.

November 15, 2012

Rick Scott's Hand is Forced as the Deadline for Florida's Health Insurance Exchange Decision Approaches its Final Hours


With less than a day to go before Florida Governor Rick Scott must decide whether Florida will create its own health insurance exchange for the uninsured or have the government create an exchange for the state, Scott is open to compromise.

Governor Scott, a former hospital CEO, has been one of the major critics of the Affordable Health Act and it seems as though his hand is being forced. Just one week after Florida voted to elect President Obama and voted against the constitutional amendment to make it more difficult to implement the ACA, Scott drops his opposition and moves to negotiate.

So far 17 states, mostly led by Democrats, have announced their decision to create their own exchange. Republicans who support the decision to have states create their own exchange, say that states should be allowed to make these decisions and that, while they don't agree with the program, allowing the government to have control would be a shrewder move. Although the Republican Governors Association has requested an extension, the deadline remains November 16th.

In light of Governor Scott’s decision to negotiate, it seems reasonable to assume he will opt to create a health insurance exchange for the state's uninsured rather than allow the government to create an exchange for Florida. Tomorrow’s decision is just another hurdle for the healthcare industry as the ACA continues to slowly roll out major change affecting the industry.

Chapman and Associates, P.C. is dedicated to the defense of health professionals with such issues as medical malpractice, professional licensing, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, etc.

November 14, 2012

67% of Physicians are Weary that Obamacare May Not be Good for the Future of Healthcare in America


The Physicians Foundation recently conducted the largest survey of physicians in the U.S. that helps gain insight into physicians' attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and their intentions as the ACA begins to roll out.

The study showed that the ACA leaves 61% of Michigan physicians and 67% of Florida physicians feeling less positive about the future of healthcare in the U.S. In contrast, 20% of Michigan physicians and 12% of Florida physicians say the ACA makes them feel more positive.

The biggest concern physicians have with the ACA is its effect on Medicare and Medicaid fees and the anticipated increase of patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid. The ACA intends on curing the healthcare dilemma by adding $1.9 trillion in additional health coverage while cutting $710 billion in Medicare fees over the next ten years. A University of Minnesota report suggests that Michigan's share of the Medicare fee-for-service reduction will be $22.3 billion, while Florida can expect to see a $44.3 billion cut from Medicare fees over the next ten years. For our healthcare clients in Michigan and Florida interested in knowing how the cuts might affect them, Oakland county's share will be an estimated $2.69 billion of the state's $22.3 billion reduction and Sarasota county's share will be an estimated $1.4 billion of the state's $44.3 billion cut.

What does this mean? Physicians can expect to see more patients for less. The Physicians Foundation survey showed 31% of Michigan physicians plan to add new limits or increase limits on accepting Medicare patients while 30% of Florida physicians plan to do the same. What's more problematic for the ACA is that 25% of Michigan physicians and 27% of Florida physicians plan to refuse accepting new Medicare patients.

Equally troublesome is that 15% of Michigan physicians and 21% of Florida physicians plan to increase fees on private insurance in order to compensate for the loss of income from Medicare. Of course, this will mean higher premiums for patients with private health insurance. Some analysts estimate that private insurance premiums will increase between 19-85%.

Now that we are certain that the Affordable Care Act is going to continue, its more important than ever that physicians and health professionals be aware of the changes the ACA brings over the next ten years and the impact it will likely have on the future of their practice and the healthcare industry.

Chapman and Associates, P.C. is dedicated to the defense of health professionals with such issues as medical malpractice, professional licensing, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, etc.