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Theus Law Offices is rated 5 out of 5.0 stars based on 5 review(s).

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Most people have many questions about estate planning but never make a move to go see an attorney. Before Theus' free seminar I did not even know their were attorneys that specialized in only estate planning. Thank goodness I attended...as I did not even know what asset protection was, even though I had assets. Most people think a written will is fine and pass away thinking that things will be as they wished/stated. Most times that is not the case. I urge you to go Theus Law Offices for consultation. They are friendly and down to earth with your wishes being #1. I cannot say enough good things about them. Now that I have gone to Theus I rest so much easier knowing that my wishes...are going to be held up...just as I wanted...no doubt about it....Thanks to the Theus family !

- Peyton Guillory

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The Theus Law Offices’ Family Estate Planning is a must from my perspective. I had recently lost my dad when I decide to attend the in-person Workshop at the time. My dad and I had attended a similar workshop some four (4) years prior but my dad didn’t elect at the time to move forward. I so wished that he (my dad) had done so because now I am helping my mom go through the Succession/Probate steps with a lawyer currently. If you or your loved ones haven’t made this decision with Estate Planning, I would strongly encourage you to attend this web-based workshop/webinar. Graves Theus is a great attorney to go with for this important step in you and your family’s planning for the future in many, many ways!!!

- Mark Johnson

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The Theus Law Offices’ Family Estate Planning is a must from my perspective. I had recently lost my dad when I decide to attend the in-person Workshop at the time. My dad and I had attended a similar workshop some four (4) years prior but my dad didn’t elect at the time to move forward. I so wished that he (my dad) had done so because now I am helping my mom go through the Succession/Probate steps with a lawyer currently. If you or your loved ones haven’t made this decision with Estate Planning, I would strongly encourage you to attend this web-based workshop/webinar. Graves Theus is a great attorney to go with for this important step in you and your family’s planning for the future in many, many ways!!!

- Mark Johnson

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They are a wonderful Team!

- Jessica Cole

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Estate planning is a complicated process, but my wife and I feel it is valuable and necessary. We started by attending an Estate Planning workshop offered by the Theus Law Offices and led by Jim Theus. That was about the wisest decision we have made in some time. We engaged the services of Theus Law Offices and have benefitted enormously from the direct working relationship with Jim Theus. They did not sign us up and then pass us off to a staff member. We worked with Jim Theus personally. When it was time to work with others of the staff, we found them friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. Jim Theus is exceptionally competent and patiently answers questions. His due diligence is admirable. We found their fees for estate planning reasonable and fair. You would be wise to consider using the services of Theus Law Offices if you are interested in estate planning. We are grateful for their help and recommend them to you without reservations. Our loved ones will also be the beneficiaries of a comprehensive plan, as are we. Doyle L Bailey

- Doyle Bailey

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PRO BONO PUBLICO (Physician Liability for Charity Care)


23 September, 2016

PRO BONO PUBLICO (Physician Liability for Charity Care)

“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.”  

St. Francis of Assisi 

Pro bono publico - a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken for the public good without charge, especially legal work for a client with a low income.

Charitable care -  health care provided for free or at reduced prices to low income patients. 

Physicians and Attorneys have long provided pro bono and charitable care where ever and when ever needed.  Indeed, accountants, bakers, candlestick makers and even musicians provide professional services to clients who are unable to pay for services provided.  Distinctly different from volunteerism, pro bono work uses specific skills to provide services to those who are unable to afford them.

THEN AND NOW

Dr. Smith was a much admired and loved emergency room physician in a small town with one stop light, one private tax-exempt hospital (the "TE Hospital") and one public charitable hospital serving indigent patients (the "Charitable Hospital").  Dr. Smith has worked at the TE hospital for several years and happily enjoyed the benefits of longtime employment.  Dr. Smith also enjoyed providing volunteer services to indigent patients at the Charitable Hospital in his free time to "give back" to the community.

Things changed when the Charitable Hospital suddenly closed, which caused a flood of indigent patients (with no place else to go) to the emergency room of the TE Hospital.  The TE Hospital was required to maintain an open emergency room for all patients regardless of ability to pay in exchange for its tax-exempt status.  As a result of the closure,Dr. Smith was required to contribute much more of his time to indigent care.

TRICKLE DOWN

In order to alleviate the extra burden on its already strained emergency room, the TE Hospital agreed to open, operate and refer indigent patients to a local free clinic.  Employed physicians, such as Dr. Smith, were assigned to provide healthcare services at this hospital-operated free clinic.  As such, he treated many unfamiliar patients with conditions and stages of disease that were outside his regular scope of practice.

NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED

No work, even if it is undertaken for the "Public Good" without charge, is exempt from standing regulations. Because charitable care does not eliminate potential for malpractice claims, Dr. Smith sought legal advise from his attorney to better understand his exposure for providing indigent healthcare services.

WEAR UNDER ARMOR

Every state, including Louisiana, offers some degree of protection for providing charitable healthcare services at free clinics. Federal law also affords protection under the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 (the "VPA"). The VPA provides minimum protection to volunteers and preempts inconsistent state law, unless the state law provides greater protection.  A physician may also be eligible for malpractice coverage under The Free Clinic Federal Tort Claims Act Medical Malpractice Program.

After the Charitable Hospital closed, Dr. Smith's decision to provide healthcare services at the free clinic operated by the TE Hospital was no longer voluntary. His coverage assignment was mandated by the TE Hospital in furtherance of its own exempt purpose and in order to reduce the strain on its emergency room. As such, his services will not be considered "pro bono" for purposes of the VPA and will have no additional protection from malpractice claims.  In order to mitigate his exposure, Dr. Smith should simply ensure that both he and the free-clinic are fully qualified and enrolled in the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund.

SOMEONE HAS TO DO IT

All professionals provide some measure of pro bono services at some point in their career.  Even though "giving back" to those in need is a worthy cause, no one should assume any limitation of liability.  If called (voluntarily or involuntarily) to render pro bono services, take reasonable care and make sure malpractice or E & O coverage is in place. In the end, as Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get.  We make a life by what we give."

“LIFE IS AN ECHO, WHAT YOU SEND OUT COMES BACK.” 
Zig Ziglar
Theus Law Offices provides a complete range of legal services for physicians and medical practices.  If you or your medical practice are facing a legal issue and need a Louisiana medical business attorney in Alexandria, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport, Monroe or elsewhere, let our business attorneys help you and your medical business.

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