Kickback The Business of Healthcare

Act on Company Model Threats as Soon as They Surface


The bus hurtles down the road, picking up speed, faster and faster, quickly passing one, then another, and then yet another large yellow sign warning that a sharp curve lies ahead, speed limit 15. But no one’s touching the brakes and, in fact, none of the passengers on the bus is driving. Then, 20 or 30 feet from disaster, a guy sitting in the fifth row gets up and announces “I think we have a problem.”

Your anesthesia group working at Sticky Fingers ASC was told in March by the managing partner of the surgical group that owns the ASC that they’re considering forcing you into a company model arrangement. But now it’s mid-November, you’ve done nothing, and one of your colleagues finally speaks up, asking “what shall we do?”

Realistically, what’s the difference between these two situations? In both cases, the passengers on the bus were given clear warning of the wreck up ahead.

As of this writing, there’s no one clear answer to the question of the legality or illegality of the company model. Based on my experience reviewing many deals, most that I’ve seen are doubtless disguised kickbacks.

If you get wind that you’re going to be presented with a company model situation, the time to start doing something to change the course of events is immediately – it’s not when the bus you’re riding on is going straight while the road veers sharply off to the left.

You have far more control over your professional fate than you might believe, even in current economic times. But control as to any particular situation has a very short half-life. Act immediately, before it’s too late.

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