Healthcare Kickbacks in the Fast Lane

March 18, 2014

The cars are going at least 85 even though the posted speed limit is 65.

I get asked all the time if anyone’s been penalized for kickbacks that fall within the rubric of the “company model.”

Many have been fined, penalized and even sent to jail for violations of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. To my knowledge, none are sitting in a cell due to a company model scheme. Not yet at least.

But that isn’t of much comfort to those who are clearly in violation. “Company model” is simply the name applied to a certain fact situation. It’s not company models that are illegal, it’s violations of the AKS that are a crime.

And, speaking of discomfort, the mere price of getting “popped” or even of being investigated, runs from extremely significant to astronomical. Someone is going to be the first to be arrested and no one should want that to be him or her.

So, in a sense it’s a bit like the traffic on the highway. The chances of getting caught speeding are probably only 1% or 2%. Eventually, though, someone will be pulled over.

That analogy isn’t perfect, though, because it’s unlikely that anyone is calling the highway patrol to say that traffic is moving too fast. But, as kickback demands, including those in company model form, become more rampant, more people on the referral-receiving side are beginning to realize that there’s no downside to “dropping the dime.”

Many have felt afraid to do that in the past because they thought that they would be blackballed. But, if almost everyone is asking for a kickback, then there’s no reason not to begin turning people in.

Expect this to happen with increasing frequency.

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