Anti-Kickback: What You Need to Know
Even in the guise of a registry, if a lab offers you compensation to induce referrals that is a kickback and you should be wary. While it might seem like a win-win situation, engaging in these activities may actually be a crime. Accepting payment for referrals puts physicians in danger of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute.
The Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) prohibits physicians from knowingly accepting money, goods, services or anything of value in return for federal healthcare referrals. This is important because physicians should only be referring patients if it benefits the patient, not their own pocketbook. Similar to the closely related Stark Law, there are safe harbor designations created to protect certain types of arrangements such as rental agreements and payments to bona fide employees, but genuine infractions are harshly punished. This includes both fines and jail time.
A physician working with companies that violate AKS is like a politician being bribed for their votes. Do not test with labs that offer kickbacks or special remunerations to induce referrals. It puts you and your patients in danger. If you know people who are doing this, please warn them! If you are aware of a company or salesperson that is promoting registry payment to induce referrals, report them to Hotline@oig.doc.gov. Click here to read more.