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Welcome to the Law Offices of
Craig S Steinberg, O.D., J.D.
Craig S Steinberg, O.D., J.D., brings a very unique perspective and expertise to the field of Optometric and Healthcare Law. He is one of a select few actively practicing lawyers in the United States who also provides eye care to patients on a regular basis as a practicing optometrist. Though now primarily engaged in the practice of law, Dr. Steinberg maintains his license to practice optometry and continues to actively practice both law and optometry. As a result, Dr. Steinberg's knowledge and expertise in the myriad legal issues affecting optometrists and medical providers is both practical and extensive.
In addition to healthcare litigation and general business litigation cases, Dr. Steinberg has handled numerous legal matters concerning optometrists, including State Board defense (defending accusations by the Board of Optometry which can lead to the suspension or revocation of your license), fraud in the purchase of practices, misappropriation of patient lists, breach of contract, defense of VSP and other Third Party discipline or panel expulsion hearings, and much more. Dr. Steinberg is regularly retained to draft and/or review agreements concerning the formation and leasing of optometric practices, optometric buy/sell agreements, and partnership agreements. For out-of-state optometrists, though Dr. Steinberg cannot provide legal services, he is routinely hired as an outside consultant.
Vision Service Plan (VSP) & EyeMed Audits/Hearings
Dr. Steinberg regularly represents optometrists and ophthalmologists being audited by third party payers such as EyeMed and VSP, or, more commonly, appealing the results of targeted audits by VSP's Special Investigations Unit (SIU). VSP audits typically result in either disciplinary orders (e.g. probation or removal from the VSP panel) and/or restitution orders demanding the repayment of tens, and often hundreds of thousands of dollars, plus audit costs of more than $5,000. And, recently, EyeMed has increased it's doctor auditing activity.
Business and Healthcare Litigation
About half of Dr. Steinberg's law practice is in the areas of litigation and trial practice, generally focusing on business and healthcare litigation. "Business Litigation" is a broad area that encompasses the ordinary disputes that arise in business contexts such as contracts and breach of contracts, claims of fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets, non-compete agreements, and related business issues. "Healthcare litigation" addresses some of the unique situations which arise involving billing and coding, compliance with third party and CMS regulations, litigation against third party payers (vision care plans and insurance companies) and related topics.
Practice Purchases and Partnership Agreements
Buying or selling an optometry practice, or forming a partnership or corporation, can be a complicated transaction. Most post-sale lawsuits arise due to poorly drafted transaction documents. In particular, buyers and sellers that rely on an escrow company's "standard" documents, or those of a practice broker, can easily end up in post-transaction disputes because of poorly written or incomplete agreements. Similarly, "partners" (whether in a true partnership, or shareholders of a corporation) that don't consult an attorney to draft a thorough partnership or shareholder's agreement are at significant risk of problems down the road.
State Board Discipline Defense
Optometrists in California are regulated by the California State Board of Optometry, which is a division of the Department of Consumer Affairs. The purpose of the State Board is to protect the public, and that includes the licensing and discipline of California licensed optometrists. The Board investigates complaints against optometrists, and brings accusations or charges against optometrists, under the Administrative Procedure Act if it finds cause to do so. In most cases the Board seeks revocation or suspension of your license!
Employer's Guide for Optometrists
Written specifically to aid the owners of optometry offices with the complexities of dealing with employees and employment law, Dr. Steinberg's Employer's Guide for Optometrists is the only manual of its kind designed specifically for optometrists. The Employer's Guide explains, in simple terms, the often complicated rules applicable to being an employer, and includes an extensive library of sample documents, contracts, forms, and procedure manuals, including a model emplooyee handbook and employment contracts..
HIPAA Policy & Procedure Manual
Most optometrists are familiar with HIPAA. Few, however, have a comprehensive HIPAA Policy and Procedure Manual, much less one that complies with the final HIPAA Rules which took effect in September, 2013. HIPAA Manuals drafted before January, 2013 are not compliant with the "final" rules. In the event of a patient complaint or an audit by the Office of Civil Rights each "Covered Entity" must have a HIPAA Policy and Procedure Manual. Dr. Steinberg's model HIPAA Policy and Procedure Manual is up-to-date and fully HIPAA compliant. It is 100 pages long and includes all the sample forms you need to meet the HIPAA requirements if you are audited.
Lecturing and Authoring
In addition to practicing both law and optometry over the past 20+ years, Dr. Steinberg lectures regularly on legal issues affecting optometrists to various optometric groups, including most recently, the American Optometric Society, the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry, and The Power Practice, and the University of Houston College of Optometry. He has also written for numerous optometric journals and periodicals, including Review of Optometry, Optometric Management, and Women in Optometry.
California Optometrist-Optician Relationships
Dr. Steinberg's unique expertise in optometric law extends to the complex relationship of opticians and optometrists in California. Many optometrists and opticians want to work together, but recognize that, in California, their business relationship is highly regulated. Most relationships between optometrists and opticians are precluded by California Bus. & Prof. Code 655. However, as a result of his experience with this complex area of law, Dr. Steinberg is regularly retained to advise and assist optometrists and opticians in developing a working relationship without violating California's strict laws regulating these two complimentary professions.