Did you know that it is illegal to offer, solicit or receive payment to gain referrals of items or services covered by many federally funded programs based on the Anti-Kickback Statute? This statute helps to make sure that medical recommendations are not based on financial incentives but on the patient's best interest. The federal government has joined a whistle blower lawsuit involving this kind of scheme.
In recent news, the federal whistle blower lawsuit was filed by a former chief financial offer for Health Management Associates, Ralph Williams. This lawsuit was filed against two hospital operators who are accused of filing fraudulent referrals of items or services covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Allegedly, four of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. hospitals in Georgia and South Carolina had entered contracts with obstetric clinics that had referrals of women who are living in the country without authorizations in exchange for kickbacks. Affiliates of Hispanic Medical Management and Clinica de la Mama help serve these women. Williams states that "the kickback scheme went on for more than a decade. The state of Georgia has also joined the lawsuit to recover state Medicaid funds." Even Stuart F. Delery, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Division explains that these schemes corrupt the health care system as well as the safety of patients who are in need of federally funded programs.