Anti-Kickback Defense Lawyers
Serving Clients in Houston and Throughout the State of Texas
The Anti-Kickback Statute is a federal criminal law that makes it illegal to "willfully and knowingly" exchange payment (or anything of value) in order to influence referrals of federal health care program business. Furthermore, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it is no longer a requirement for the government to show that the defendants specifically knew that the activity engaged in was unlawful. What this means is there no longer needs to be actual knowledge of the Anti-Kickback violation and this lower standard of intent makes it easier for the government to prosecute violators of the AKS. This Statute applies to professional healthcare providers, both physicians and non-licensed individuals such as administrators or business owners.
Certain risk areas for a violation may include:
- Clinical visits and documentation
- Referrals to ancillaries for pharmaceuticals, laboratory services and therapy
- Physician Conflict of Interest, including directorships, space and equipment rentals
- Lack of operational and clinical integration among locations
- Locum Tenens and Leased/Temporary Staff
- Survey and Certification Deficiencies
- Compounding Pharmacies
Safe Harbors of the Anti-Kickback Statue
The federal Anti-Kickback Statute allows for and provides for certain safe harbors. Safe harbors are regulations that outline lawful business arrangement between parties. Strict compliance with the safe harbor provides assurance that the arrangement will not violate the law. Compliance with a safe harbor is optional and failing to fit specifically within a safe harbor does not in itself mean that the arrangement is illegal, however, it must be highly scrutinized and it will be subject to higher scrutiny by the government.
Safe harbors may include:
- Space rental agreements
- Equipment rental agreements
- Personal services and management contracts
- Referral services
- Compensation to legitimate employees
- Group purchasing organizations
- Price reduction offered to health plans
- Ambulatory surgery centers
- Electronic health record items and services
At Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C., we are able to demonstrate to our clients how they can meet the appropriate safe harbor requirements, how to assess and obtain fair market value for services rendered and how to set up and operate the appropriate corporate compliance programs.
The best way to avoid governmental scrutiny is to confer with experienced healthcare counsel before entering into a healthcare business arrangement. At Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C. we have in excess of three decades of experience in handling business transactions that could implicate STARK and/or the Anti-Kickback Statute. Call (713) 909-7323 or complete an online form for an initial consultation.
Lawyer up with Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C.
If you are about to enter into a healthcare transaction that may fall under the anti-kickback statute, or if at any point you discover that you may have unintentionally violated this law, we can help. Do not wait to see if the OAG will investigate; the sooner you contact our offices, the sooner we can craft a legal strategy to defend against any potential repercussions.
Please give us a call at (713) 909-7323 to get in touch with our legal team today.