The healthcare industry is heavily regulated by federal and state fraud and abuse laws. Among the broadest of regulations governing healthcare providers is the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, a criminal law that prohibits the exchange (or offer to exchange) of anything of value (remuneration) in an effort to induce or reward the referral of federal healthcare business. The federal Anti-Kickback Statute provides criminal penalties for individuals or entities who knowingly and willfully offer, pay, solicit or receive remuneration in order to induce business payable by Medicare or Medicaid.
The United States Department of Justice has independent jurisdiction over the Anti-Kickback Statute. Penalties for violation of the Anti-Kickback Law are severe. A violation can result in a felony conviction punishable by a fine up to $25,000.00 and/or imprisonment for up to five years. A violation can also result in a provider’s exclusion from the Medicare program. In addition, violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute can result in the imposition of significant civil penalties under the False Claims Act.
If you are a healthcare provider with concerns about violating the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, you should contact an experienced healthcare attorney as soon as possible. Contact The Martin Law Firm at 215-646-3980 to consult with an experienced healthcare attorney.
Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services have provided several safe harbors that allow healthcare providers and other entities to avoid violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute. Safe harbor exceptions exclude certain arrangements or transfers from the definition of payment, thus shielding the parties from potential criminal liability under the Anti-Kickback law. Safe harbors include:
- Investment Interests
- Office Space Rental
- Equipment Rental
- Personal Services/Management Contracts
- Referral Services
- Payments made to bona fide employees
Each safe harbor under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute has a number of provisions that providers must comply with. For example, the office space rental safe harbor requires compliance with the following:
1. The lease agreement is set out in writing;
2. The Agreement covers all of the premises leased for the lease term and specifies the premises;
3. The Lease specifies any schedule of lease intervals;
4. The term of the lease is one (1) year or more;
5. The aggregate rental charge is set in advance at fair market value; and
6. The aggregate space rental does not exceed what is reasonably necessary to accomplish the business purpose.
Anti-Kickback Attorney in Pennsylvania
healthcare providers who want to hire an employee or independent contractor, enter into an agreement for the provision of healthcare goods or services, rent office space or equipment, or any other arrangements involving the exchange of remuneration, or who may be in violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute should consult an experienced healthcare attorney as soon as possible to avoid conviction and serious criminal penalties. A healthcare attorney can help analyze the particular circumstances and counsel the provider on how to comply with the safe harbors to avoid federal Anti-Kickback Statute prosecution.
The Martin Law Firm is well positioned to offer guidance for healthcare providers who want to comply with or defend allegations regarding the Anti-Kickback Statute. Contact The Martin Law Firm today at 215-687-4053 for a free case evaluation with an experienced healthcare attorney.