A new bill in Florida would force some changes on the attorney referral services that are popping up. The bill applies to both legal and medical services.
Private lawyer and legal medical referral services would have to disclose financial ties to clinics and law firms to which they refer callers.
The bill states:
• A lawyer and medical referral service may not require its participating lawyers to refer patients only to doctors or clinics participating in the referral service as a condition of belonging to the service. Similarly, doctors or clinics may not refer patients only to lawyer members of the service.
• A medical clinic or health care provider may not exclusively make referrals to other medical facilities that the owner of the referral service has an interest in, unless all advertising for the service says that the referrals will be limited to those facilities.
• Medical referral services must prominently disclose in advertising if they refer patients to healthcare facilities that are not owned by physicians.
• There would be restrictions on referral service advertisements that generally track restrictions The Florida Bar places on lawyer advertising. Lawyer referral services would be required to follow all Bar advertising rules and to file their advertising with the Bar to ensure compliance with Bar rules. (Bar rules prohibit lawyers from belonging to referral services that do not comply with Bar rules, include rules regulating lawyer advertising.) Ads could not say an injured person would be entitled to a certain amount of damages “when there is no factual basis to suggest such monetary amount. . . .” Ads could also not promise specific results, use false testimonials, and must not be “false, misleading, or deceptive.”
I can always use your help. If you have a tip or information you want to share, you can get it to me confidentially if you click here.