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California Optometric Association Launches Legal Resources Program July 1

A new and exciting COA membership benefit will be available to all COA member doctors of optometry starting July 1, 2016. We are pleased to add a FREE legal resource service as an added value to the many benefits you already receive as a COA member. The benefit entitles COA member optometrists up to one-half hour (30 minutes) of telephone and research work per month with an attorney at no cost.

The COA Legal Services Resource Program will offer services that will assist members in areas of the law related the practice of optometry. Services offered are:

  • Business tax issues
  • Business owner succession planning
  • Cal/OSHA/Prop 65 issues
  • Contract issues
  • Employment law
  • Licensure issues
  • Practice ownership and organizational structure
  • Regulatory and administrative law
  • California State Board of Optometry rules and enforcement issues

How will the program work?

Contact one of the designated attorneys from Wilke, Fleury, Hoffelt, Gould & Birney, LLP (see below), provide them with your COA member number, and receive a free consultation for up to one-half hour per month. This benefit will not accumulate from month-to-month.

All services are confidential. Any agreement for contracted services, beyond the COA free benefit, is between the individual optometrist and the attorney.

Meet the attorneys

  • For issues pertaining to employment and practice succession, contact:

Stephen Marmaduke. Mr. Marmaduke has practiced law in California for over 35 years. One of his primary focuses is the representation of health care providers in the area of professional employment.

  • For all other legal matters, contact:

William A. (Bill) Gould, Jr. Mr. Gould has been with the Wilke Fleury since 1964 and has served as COA’s general counsel for more than 50 years. His practice emphasizes health care law (including the laws affecting doctors of optometry), litigation and administrative law. During his time representing COA, he has handled all COA litigation, including the Eyeglasses I and Eyeglasses II lawsuits, and lawsuits against the Medical Board of California and others.

Daniel Baxter: A partner with Wilke Fleury since 2007, Mr. Baxter’s practice focus includes business litigation and as general counsel to clients ranging from non-profit organizations to small businesses.

Beginning July 1, access your COA legal resource services member benefit by:

  1. Call Wilke Fleury at 916-441-2430
  2. Provide your COA member number.
  3. Ask for the attorney who best meets your issue from the above list.

About the Law Firm of Wilke, Fleury, Hoffelt, Gould & Birney, LLP

For more than 90 years, Wilke Fleury has served businesses, governmental entities and individuals by providing comprehensive legal services with the highest standards of integrity and efficiency. The firm as gained a national reputation in the health care arena, and has served as legal counsel to COA for more than 50 years.

View the Article Here

Employees Earning Less than $47,476 Will be Subject to Overtime

Employers do not have to pay overtime to executive, administrative and professional employees who qualify for exemption as exempt employees.  Generally, exempt employees must meet both a duties test and a salary test under applicable law.  The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) currently has a lower salary test than California law, so California employers commonly follow the California salary test to determine if their employees will meet the salary test for exempt employees because compliance with the higher California salary requirement will comply with the salary requirement under the FLSA.  However, the new federal overtime rule increases the minimum salary for exempt employees, and will soon be higher than the California minimum salary for exempt employees.

The new federal overtime rule does not change the federal duties test for exemption from overtime.  It only affects the salary test.   Beginning on December 1, 2016, the minimum annual salary for exempt employees under the FLSA will be $47,476, and will be adjusted automatically every three years beginning on January 1, 2020.  Contrast this with the California minimum annual salary for exempt employees, which is currently $41,600.  Even with California’s new State minimum wage law, California’s minimum annual salary for exempt employees is not anticipated to exceed the FLSA minimum annual salary until the State minimum wage increases to $12 per hour, which is not scheduled to occur until January 1, 2019 for employers with 26 or more employees (or January 1, 2020 for employers with 25 or fewer employees).

Employers will need to review the salaries of their exempt employees and determine whether they will meet the higher FLSA salary test for employees subject to it.  For those that do not, employers will need to determine whether to increase their salaries in order to maintain their exempt status.  Employers can continue to pay employees on a salary basis after December 1, even if that salary is less than $47,476, but employees with salaries below $47,476 will be nonexempt employees, and therefore, entitled to overtime.  Alternatively, employers can pay formerly exempt, newly nonexempt employees on an hourly basis.  Most California employers will need to pay hourly employees according to California’s minimum wage ($10 per hour, increasing to $10.50 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees on January 1, 2017), not the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour).


By Samson R. Elsbernd

Wilke Fleury Helps Paveljit S. Bindra, MD Establish New CA Health Plan, Imperial Health Plan of California, Inc.

Sacramento, Calif., June 1, 2016 – Wilke Fleury’s health care law team has assisted its client to obtain a restricted Knox-Keene license, creating one of California’s only full service health plans formed and entirely owned by a single physician.

Imperial Health Plan of California, Inc., was formed by Paveljit S. Bindra, MD, MBA, MSc, FACC to expand health care options for individuals residing in California. It seeks to improve access to quality care. Its services include all aspects of medical coverage ranging from preventive care to acute care and chronic care through a network of primary care physicians, hospitals, urgent care centers, ancillary service practitioners, imaging centers and pharmacies.

“Rarely has a single physician contemplated and achieved a vision of creating a Knox-Keene health plan,” said Michael G. Polis, partner, Wilke Fleury. “Assisting Dr. Bindra with the financial, legal and regulatory aspects of this transaction and the Knox-Keene Application resulted in one of the fastest restricted licenses being issued by the Department of Managed Care.  Imperial is eager to collaborate with other health plans to meet the health care needs of all Californians.”

Dr. Paveljit Bindra has extensive health care experience in population health, health maintenance and health care administration. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology. He has served as Chief Medical Officer and Chief Information Officer of a three-hospital, 625+ bed acute care health system with an affiliated home health and hospice system.  Leading the executive team responsible for a financial turnaround of $28 million, he was recognized as one of the “2012 Up & Comers” by Modern Healthcare magazine.

Before that, he was a partner in a large cardiology practice in Southern California and practiced Cardiology and Cardiac Electrophysiology. Dr. Bindra has also served as the CEO and founder of an investment firm, and earned his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an MD from Harvard Medical School and an AB from Harvard College. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, and received an MSc in Comparative Social Research.