In 1972, U.S. Congress passed Federal anti-kickback laws to protect patients from medical referrals based upon the health care provider receiving a kickback or financial incentive, rather than on medical necessity. In general, kickbacks include the practice whereby a person or business pays someone to find new clients or referrals and/or pays that person a percentage of the increased transactions resulting from those referrals.
Michigan’s self-referral laws, similar to federal Stark Laws, address situations in which the health care provider has a business interest in the facility to which he/she makes referrals.
Michigan’s Anti-Kickback Statutes regularly affect the daily practices of Michigan’s health care professionals. The business of health care generates frequent referrals back and forth between providers of goods and services, and sometimes these relationships provide for unlawful financial incentives.
All health care practitioners should understand whether their inbound and outbound referral patterns are making them susceptible to liability under the anti-kickback laws because the penalties for non-compliance are severe.
Kickbacks take many different forms, some obvious, like providers who accept cash in exchange for referrals. Others are more subtle, such as a hospital giving providers reduced office rent in exchange for the informal agreement to refer patients to the hospital. It is surprisingly easy to unintentionally run afoul of Michigan’s anti-kickback laws.
The FBI and state authorities actively enforce the anti-kickback laws. Even unintentional anti-kickback violations are prosecuted because the statutes do not require willful or knowing conduct.
Given the severe penalties under Michigan’s anti-kickback laws, health care professionals and providers should work with an experienced health care attorney to ensure that their referral relationships are legitimate and do not lead to exposure under the law.
For three decades, the health care lawyers at Chapman Law Group have been helping health care practitioners in Detroit, Dearborn, Ann Arbor, Troy, Grand Rapids and all across Michigan understand and comply with the anti-kickback laws.
We can help identify where your practice may not be in compliance, as well as whether any of your activities would receive exemptions or safe harbors (activities viewed as acceptable practices and depend on the circumstances of the relationship).
Contact us today and we’ll put our experience to work to keep your practice in compliance.
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