In some industries, remuneration for referrals is a legitimate business practice. No one bats an eye at finder’s fees or commissions in certain industries, but under federal law, this practice is forbidden in the health care industry. Giving or receiving kickbacks for health care or medical referrals can be unlawful and a federal offense. If you are accused of giving or receiving payment in exchange for health care referrals, find a Virginia federal health care kickbacks lawyer for your defense. We offer free consultation to discuss your case, so contact a Virginia federal healthcare fraud lawyer today.
The majority of federal health care fraud cases involve accusations of fraudulent billing. However, many cases revolve around the payment of kickbacks.
Kickbacks are the offer, provision, or receipt of remuneration in exchange for patient referrals. Remuneration can be actual cash payments, or it can be some other item of value—discounts, gifts, vacations, meals, and so forth.
Federal law prohibits health care kickbacks for patient referrals because such practices could encourage abuse of the health care system or unethical practices, according to the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (OIG-HHS):
Kickbacks for patient referrals are punishable by both civil and criminal penalties, and the costs associated with a civil lawsuit or criminal conviction can be astronomical. If you are accused of wrongdoing regarding a patient referral program, protect yourself by hiring a federal health care kickbacks lawyer in Virginia.
Most federal health care fraud cases are prosecuted under 18 U.S. Code 1347, the federal health care fraud statute. Cases involving health care kickbacks, however, are often prosecuted according to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (42 U.S. Code 1320a–7b). The anti-kickback law prohibits the solicitation, receipt, offer, or payment of direct or indirect remuneration for patient referral or use of products or services which may be paid in part or whole by a federal health care program, such as Medicare or Medicaid.
Criminal penalties for conviction under the Anti-Kickback Statute include up to 5 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Additionally, violating the Anti-Kickback Statute can bring civil penalties under the Civil Monetary Penalties Law (CMPL). Civil penalties under the CMPL include $50,000 for each kickback and civil assessments of up to three times the total remuneration.
The costs associated with conviction of giving or receiving health care kickbacks can be astronomical. However, a Virginia federal health care kickbacks lawyer can protect you from unnecessary penalties.
The Anti-Kickback Statute offers a number of “safe harbors,” or conditions under which acceptance of remuneration is not forbidden. Your VA federal healthcare kickbacks attorney may be able to provide evidence that the acts alleged in your case are protected as safe harbors.
Furthermore, in order to obtain conviction of violating federal anti-kickback laws, the prosecution must prove a quid pro quo relationship. In other words, the federal government must substantiate and prove its claim that the defendant actually gave or received something of value in exchange for patient referrals. A federal kickbacks lawyer in Virginia can work to dispute and cast doubt on the prosecution’s evidence.
To find out more about how we can help with your defense against federal charges, call today.