Physicians who are contemplating entering into compensation arrangements with a health care entity will face increased scrutiny according to a recent fraud alert issued by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Citing 12 recent settlements with individual physicians, the OIG maintains that if a medical directorship arrangement fails to reflect fair-market value or otherwise demonstrates an absence of bona fide services provided by the physician, legal action could be taken. Accepting a medical directorship position which is designed to compensate a physician for his past referrals – or for referrals which will be made in the future – violates the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.
To that end, one case highlighted by OIG involved a Newark, New Jersey-based gastroenterologist who settled for $104,950, after he was accused of receiving remuneration from an imaging facility in exchange for patient referrals. Yet another case involved a Texas orthopedic surgeon who settled allegations that he was paid money above a compensation rate negotiated in his medical director agreement. In that case, the surgeon settled for $99,000.
It is not only a failure to provide bona fide services that triggers liability under the statute, according to the OIG. With some of the aforementioned settlements, the arrangements in question involved the payment of salaries for front office staff. The OIG maintains that by relieving the physicians of their duty to compensate their staff, the arrangements constituted an improper remuneration for the physicians. Such remuneration is forbidden under the Anti-Kickback Statute. Similarly, a North Carolina physician received remuneration in the form of free useable office space, resulting in a $141,459 settlement with the OIG.
Philadelphia anti-kickback lawyers say that the OIG’s interest in individual physicians – as opposed to larger health care entities – is noteworthy. Before executing a medical directorship arrangement physicians should closely consult with a Philadelphia health care lawyer who can help ensure that the agreement will withstand government scrutiny.
Philadelphia Health Care Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates Understand All Aspects of Anti-Kickback Law
The federal Anti-Kickback Statute must be taken seriously. Violators face civil and criminal liability, as well as forfeiture of their license to practice medicine. If you have been offered a medical directorship position contact Philadelphia health care lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates. Call 215-569-1999 or submit an online form to schedule a free consultation in our Philadelphia offices, where we serve clients throughout Southeast Pennsylvania, as well as New Jersey and New York.