Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law in Illinois: Examples and Exceptions

antikickback statute and stark law

antikickback statute and stark law

In the world of healthcare, there are laws in place to protect against fraudulent activity and unethical behavior.

Such is the case with the Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law, two important pieces of legislation designed to protect patients from fraud and abuse within the medical community.

In this article, we will discuss what these laws mean for healthcare professionals in Illinois, as well as provide examples and exceptions that may be encountered when dealing with them.

What Are the Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law?

The Anti-kickback Statute and the Stark Law are federal laws that regulate financial relationships in healthcare. Both aim to prevent financial conflicts of interest for providers that could lead to overutilization, increased healthcare costs, and compromised medical decision-making.

The Anti-kickback Statute:

  • Prohibits the exchange of anything of value in return for referrals for items or services paid for by a federal healthcare program, such as Medicare or Medicaid.
  • Applies to both the entity offering the kickback or bribe and the entity accepting it.

The Stark Law:

  • Prohibits physicians from referring patients for certain designated health services to entities where the physician or their immediate family member has a financial interest, unless an exception applies.
  • Applies to physicians who participate in Medicare and Medicaid and to the entities that receive referrals from them.

Illinois healthcare providers must remain mindful of these requirements and exceptions to ensure compliance with federal law.

Examples of Prohibited Conduct Under the Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law

The Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law give us many examples of prohibited conduct. It’s important for Illinois providers to know what conduct falls under this umbrella so that businesses can avoid any allegations of violations.

Some common examples include:

  • Providing incentives, like kickbacks or gifts, for referrals between healthcare providers
  • Self-referring certain designated health services
  • Entering into contracts with doctors who refer patients to a particular facility
  • Improperly billing for services or equipment
  • Waiving copayments, either routinely or on a selective case-by-case basis.

Each of these actions can put the provider at risk of violating federal laws.

Penalties for Violations of the Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law

Violations of the Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law can result in significant penalties. This section will discuss some of the most common consequences of breaking these laws.

The following are a few examples of potential punishments:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Exclusion from Medicare/Medicaid programs
  • Revocation of medical license
  • Criminal prosecution

These are just some of the possible repercussions for transgressions involving this legislation. However, it’s important to note that each case is unique and must be evaluated separately by legal counsel before determining what action should be taken next.

Common Exceptions to the Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law

Illinois healthcare providers should be mindful of safe harbor exceptions under the Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law to prevent any possible breaches of federal law.

These exceptions provide lawful business arrangements, which healthcare providers can engage in without fear of violating the law. It is important for healthcare providers to familiarize themselves with these exceptions to ensure compliance with federal regulations.

Some exceptions to Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law include:

  • Personal service arrangements
  • Investments in ambulatory surgical centers
  • Referral services, such as vendor agreements
  • Discounts are offered to buyers, sellers, and those who are not acting as sellers
  • Practitioner recruitment
  • Investments in group practices and solo practices
  • Certain price reductions
  • Electronic health record items and services, which may involve non-monetary goods and services
  • Equipment rental or leasing arrangements
  • Physician employment arrangements
  • Fair market value compensation arrangements
  • Certain types of non-monetary compensation arrangements
  • Certain types of isolated transactions

It is important to note that the Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law exceptions have specific requirements that must be met to qualify for safe harbor protection. Healthcare providers should consult legal counsel and ensure their business arrangements comply with federal law.

Compliance Strategies and Defense Options for the Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law Violations

Healthcare providers in Illinois can take several steps to ensure compliance with the Anti-kickback Statute and Stark Law, including:

  1. Conducting regular compliance audits and risk assessments
  2. Developing and implementing compliance policies and procedures
  3. Providing regular compliance training to staff and employees
  4. Monitoring and reviewing financial relationships with referral sources
  5. Engaging legal counsel to review and approve business arrangements

If you are a healthcare provider facing allegations of Anti-kickback Statute or Stark Law violations in Illinois, contact our professional license defense lawyers at 1818 for consultation.

Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas

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Jordan Matyas is a lawyer, lobbyist, and Founder of 1818 Legal, an Illinois professional licensing defense law firm he created in 2014. With more than 18 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including professional license defense, administrative law, land use and zoning, and state, local, and municipal law.

Jordan received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois — Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Illinois Bar Association.