A Criminal Law

The Anti-Kickback Statute is a criminal law that prohibits the knowing and willful payment or “remuneration” to induce or reward patient referrals.  It also applies to  the generation of business involving any item or service payable by the Federal health care programs. Remuneration includes anything of value and can take many forms besides cash, such as free rent, expensive hotel stays and meals, and excessive compensation for medical directorships or consultancies. Learn more.

Penalties

Criminal penalties and administrative sanctions for violating the Anti-Kickback Statute include fines, jail terms, and exclusion from participation in the Federal health care programs. Under this law, physicians who pay or accept kickbacksalso face penalties of up to $50,000 per kickback plus three times the amount of the remuneration.

Target for Kickbacks

As a physician, you are an attractive target for kickback schemes because you can be a source of referrals for fellow physicians or other health care providers and suppliers. You decide what drugs your patients use, which specialists they see, and what health care services and supplies they receive. Many companies will attempt to take advantage of this relationship. They will attempt to pay you for the referrals.

Moreover, just as it is illegal for you to take money from providers and suppliers in return for the referral of your Medicare and Medicaid patients, it is illegal for you to pay others to refer their Medicare and Medicaid patients to you.

In addition, Medicare and Medicaid programs require patients to pay copays for services and you are required to collect them. Waiving these copays could implicate the Anti-Kickback Statute. Of course it is OK to waive if the patient cannot afford or if you have made efforts to collect.

Contact us for more information on these important topics and anesthesia compliance training for you and your company.