Icenogle & Associates, LLC
Providing Comprehensive Health Law Services Throughout Wisconsin

Wisconsin Health & Health Care Law Blog

Can I break patient confidentiality?

Watch a medical television show and the issue of patient confidentiality is likely to come up in at least one episode. Most people understand that the patient’s right to keep their medical history and condition private is a pillar of the health care system.

However, as a health care professional, you know there may be instances when breaking a patient’s confidentiality could act in their best interest. This is a tricky situation, as you do not want to do the patient harm or face legal ramifications. When is it legally permissible to break confidentiality and release patient information?

How do you protect nurses from losing their license?

You are a very dependable worker. You may have been working for the hospital for more than 20 years as a nurse. Patients and doctors love and respect you. It took you years to get that reputation and experience. With such a wonderful work history is there a chance that you could possibly lose your nursing license?

How does the hospital privileging process work?

If it is your first time seeking approval from a Wisconsin hospital credentialing committee, you probably have many questions about the process. Unfortunately, it might be difficult for you to find a concise, general answer to any questions you have. Individual governing bodies have a great deal of latitude in deciding who works in their healthcare centers, and in what capacity.

Similar to many elements of professional medical practice, obtaining your privilege to work at a hospital involves a peer review process. Generally speaking, you could expect to present your qualifications and background information to a board of fellow physicians, specialists and medical administrators. You could be approved to practice at the facility once you pass this process, barring any one of many possible complications.

What is the President's plan for changing the ACA?

Since President Trump took office and even before, he has focused on how he will change the Affordable Care Act, enacted under former President Obama. In the first year of his presidency, he was able to make small steps, but an overarching change or replacement plan has not yet happened. You may wonder what changes he is thinking about and how that will affect Wisconsin residents like you.

According to Business Insider, Congress has been unable to formulate an ACA replacement. There have been a few attempts, but that's it. President Trump has decided to take matters into his own hands as much as he can under the law. He created a plan that does not require any approval from Congress to enact. 

Should you sue your health insurance company?

Dealing with health insurance can be a real hassle. There may come a time when you have a claim denied, which can be infuriating, especially, if it is for a service that your doctor said was necessary. When you have a claim denied, you may want to fight back. While your first instinct may be to take the insurance company to court in Wisconsin, you may want to consider alternative options first.

According to, a health insurance lawsuit can be very time consuming and expensive. Even insurance companies prefer to avoid them. This is why they may be willing to work out an alternative solution. The first thing you should try to do is appeal the ruling. See if you can get the company to change the denial to an approval. Often an appeals process is written into the terms and conditions of your health insurance policy.

What are the licensing laws for doctors?

In order to legally practice medicine in Wisconsin, you must be properly licensed. The licensing process is not easy and requires you to follow several steps, including taking tests. It is done this way to ensure only those who are properly trained and knowledgeable are able to work in healthcare and provide safe care to patients. Anyone found practicing medicine without the proper license could face criminal charges.

According to the Department of Safety and Professional Services, you must fill out an application form to get your medical license. The application must be accompanied by specific documentation that proves you meet all the requirements for licensing. This includes proof that you have completed the education requirements. To become a licensed physician, you must graduate from an approved medical school and complete any postgraduate requirements. You must also pay an application fee.

How do health insurance companies affect health care?

You may think that when you go to the doctor in Wisconsin that it is your doctor making all your healthcare decisions. You may be surprised to learn that is not always what happens. In many cases, the decisions made about what medications to give you, what procedures to do, what tests to order and other practices are being made or at least heavily influenced by your insurance company. This is something that is very disturbing when you consider these companies are not staffed by doctors and medical staff.

According to US News and World Report, this happens because the insurance companies have so much control in the healthcare industry. They are, after all, paying the bills. They find many ways to influence your healthcare.

States file lawsuit to end ACA

The Affordable Care Act has been quite controversial since it was introduced and enacted by Congress under the Obama Administration. The individual mandate and tax penalty have been major sticking points. According to The Hill, when Congress ended the tax penalty under President Trump, it changed the previous Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the ACA. This has led to 20 states, Wisconsin included, to file a lawsuit that it is no longer constitutional. 

The allegations are that the ACA is no longer valid because the tax penalty was removed without removing the individual mandate. The states explain that requiring people to have health insurance is not a power Congress has. Having that mandate remain in the ACA as a core part of the law makes the whole law illegal. 

Avoid legal pitfalls in medical practice marketing

Gaining the right to practice medicine takes a lot of time, money and effort. Having cleared all the hurdles, maintaining the practice can be like walking on stilts. Myriad issues can surface from unexpected quarters, and if just one knocks a stilt from under you, it could be the end of your career as a doctor or nurse. Strong defense of your licensure may be required.

Accusations of malpractice, delivery of poor care, or inappropriate interaction with patients get the most media attention. What gets less press, but which can be just as devastating, is when someone levels charges of breaching medical ethics. Such allegations don't even always deal with your practice of medicine. Legal missteps in marketing and advertising can put a Wisconsin practitioner in the sanction crosshairs.

Can I sign a nurse practitioner contract before I finish school?

One of the hottest job opportunities in the medical field right now appears to be nurse practitioners. According to standings compiled by U.S. News and World Report, nurse practitioner jobs rank within the top five in terms of best occupations generally and in health care specifically. The pay is high. So is demand. Indeed, solid employment growth is projected for years to come.

This could prompt many considering this as a career choice to wonder what their possible contracting options might be. Unfortunately, it's hard to provide a simple answer. Every state has its own rules regarding this issue. Some states allow advanced-practice nurses to enter into contracts while in school, assuming licensure follows. Others require that a nurse have a current license to practice. Wisconsin is one of them.