Offering or accepting kickbacks for medical service referrals is a federal crime. Under the Affordable Care Act, someone accused of accepting or offering a kickback does not need to be aware that doing so is illegal in order to be convicted. In other words, if a prosecutor can prove that you intended to receive, pay or offer a bribe for medical service referrals, you could face criminal and civil consequences for kickback fraud.
Here at Raiser & Kenniff, PC, our legal team provides representation to healthcare providers, doctors and other companies and individuals who have been accused of kickback fraud. If you are facing accusations of violating anti-kickback laws and you would like to learn more about your rights and options, please contact a New York defense attorney at Raiser & Kenniff, PC today for a consultation. We can help to answer your questions and make sure you understand the legal process every step of the way.
What Are Illegal Kickbacks?
It is against the law to accept, solicit or pay any type of bribe in an attempt to refer someone to receive medical services. In other words, financial incentives cannot be involved in the referral process in any way. The following are examples of kickback fraud:
– A medical service provider or lab tells a caregiver or physician that it will pay a sum of money for every patient who is referred for a service.
– A medical device company or pharmaceutical company claims it will pay a care provider or physician for each patient who is prescribed a medical device or drug.
– A physician tells another doctor, clinic or care provider that she will pay a sum of money for each patient sent to her.
– A physician sends a patient to a colleague for medical services and requests that his colleague pay him for the referral.
The above are just several examples, but in all cases, the key question is whether money was accepted or offered in an attempt to entice a healthcare provider to refer someone for services. The prosecution will also determine whether the promise of an incentive was the reason for the patient referral for those services.
Most courts have maintained that kickback fraud may occur even if there were alternate reasons for the compensation or referral as long as one purpose of the money was to solicit referrals or compensate for a referral.
Illegal Kickback Penalties
Kickback fraud can have significant consequences as it is a very serious form of healthcare fraud. Defendants can be punished under 42 U.S. Code Section 1320a-7b(b) for receiving illegal incentives in connection with any claims submitted to Tricare, Medicaid, Medicare and other federal healthcare programs. The code section indicates a fine up to $25,000 for kickback fraud and a penalty of up to five years in jail.
In addition to federal consequences, violating anti-kickback laws could result in a civil action under the False Claims Act, civil fines and triple damages for financial incentives fraudulently paid by the government for services received as part of a kickback scam.
Due to the severity of the consequences and the often-complex laws surrounding healthcare fraud, it is important to understand the potential penalties associated with illegal kickbacks and do everything possible to protect their rights if charged. For this reason, it is important to work with a New York City criminal defense lawyer who can evaluate your case, answer your questions and walk you through the criminal justice system.
Contact a New York City Kickback Fraud Lawyer Now for Assistance
If you are in need of a legal team with experience in kickback fraud cases, contact Raisser & Kenniff, PC today. Our attorneys understand the federal laws as they pertain to pharmaceutical and healthcare fraud, and we have experience handling cases in which defendants are accused of accepting, soliciting or paying money in exchange for referrals for medical services.
It is our goal to make it difficult for prosecutors to provide evidence that the referrals included financial incentives, and we strive to help our clients avoid conviction. If you are ready to start developing a solid legal strategy to address criminal and civil issues you face following accusations of kickback fraud, contact Raisser & Kenniff, PC today.