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Florida Physician Practice Management: What is a Letter of Protection (LOP)?


Each year, many people are injured in accidents in Florida. Under state law, injured victims may be entitled to recover financial compensation from a negligent party, or from the defendant’s insurance company. This is done through a personal injury lawsuit. Of course, the personal injury claims process can sometimes be slow. An injured victim might need medical care immediately, but he or she may not be able to access funds from settlement for months. This is where a Letter of Protection (LOP) comes into play.

Also sometimes loosely referred to as a medical lien, a Letter of Protection is an official legal document that a medical professional can use to guarantee that payment for medical services will be made from the proceeds of an impending personal injury settlement or jury verdict.

While LOPs may not seem complicated, actually getting full payment can sometimes prove to be immensely complex. In this article, our top-rated Miami physician practice management attorneys highlight four important things that healthcare providers need to know about Letters of Protection.

  1. Pay Careful Attention to the Terms of the LOP

Not all LOPs are crafted in exactly the same manner. Before agreeing to provide costly medical services under this type of payment structure, you need to be sure the corresponding Letter of Protection is fair to the rights and interests your professional practice. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney who can ensure that your practice is operating under a properly structured LOP. 

  1. You Must Know How Much Insurance Coverage is Available

Ultimately, a Letter of Protection gives a medical professional access to the personal injury funds that will come at some point in the future. It is imperative that you carefully consider the level of funding that will actually be available to the victim. If the claim is not likely to produce sufficient recovery to pay for the medical costs, then accepting a Letter or Protection on that basis could be an unwise business decision. 

  1. LOPs Always Come With Risk

 Medical professionals who accept Letters of Protection for payment will always be taking on some level of risk. Of course, taking on risk is not necessarily a bad thing. Still, it is important that you make sure that your healthcare practice is only taking on an advisable amount of risk. If you feel that the risk is too high, there may be other methods of getting payment available. For example, you may be able to reduce risk by working through a third party medical funding company.

  1. Do Not Hesitate to Seek Professional Legal Guidance

Managing a professional practice is deeply complicated. Letters of Protection are just one of many legal issues that need to be considered. At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our skilled business litigation attorneys have extensive experience serving medical practitioners. If you have any questions or concerns about Letters of Protection, please contact us today for a free case review. With offices in Miami and West Palm Beach, we serve medical professionals throughout Southeast Florida.

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