Penalties associated with violating the Anti-Kickback Statute
When you work as a health care provider in Florida, you agree to maintain certain ethics. You also agree not to accept “kickbacks,” or payments or other types of compensation in exchange for doing something health care-related for the paying party’s benefit. If you do so, you may be in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute, and you may face serious penalties as a result.
Per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General, the Anti-Kickback Statute is a federal law that prevents you from accepting cash, compensated hotel stays, free meals or other perks in exchange for making patient referrals.
What penalties you may face for AKS violations
Because an AKS violation is a federal offense, the penalties you may face following a conviction are considerable. When you violate the AKS, you may face hefty fines and time in jail or prison. You may also face exclusion from participating in federal health care programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid.
You may also face more sanctions under the Civil Monetary Penalties Law. Doctors who accept kickbacks in exchange for making referrals or offering up other benefits may have to pay up to $50,000 per kickback plus three times the amount they received from the kickback.
Why you may be a target for AKS schemes
It is not uncommon for physicians to find themselves the targets of AKS schemes. This is because referrals are so commonplace in health care and because you have a lot of wiggle room as far as who you tell your patients to see, what drugs you want them to take and what services you think they should get.
Keep in mind that while it is illegal for you to pay another health care provider to refer patients to you, it is also unlawful to accept payments from another provider for referring patients his or her way.