January 28, 2016
How specific or general are anti-kickback laws, Stark, etc.? More specifically, I may want to work as a consultant for a home-services company. If I don't refer a patient specifically to that company or even mention the company by name in conversations with my patients but rather recommend that they get home services, fill out necessary paperwork, refer to a social worker to help with the process, etc., and they end up using that company, am I at risk? I think the company does great work and recommend them by name to my patients, but still don't dictate in any way which provider they use when I help set up the referral -- would I be at risk then?
The Anti-Kickback statute and the Stark laws are pretty specific and cast a pretty broad net. Authorities may employ broad interpretation as well. Here, you are looking to accept money from a home services agency for promotion, etc. when you may or may not be encouraging patients to go to this facility.
The only way this would possibly be acceptable upon review is if you are also meeting your state's disclosure requirement for financial interest.
I recommend the proposed consulting agreement be reviewed, the compensation reviewed for fair market value and the state laws checked to confirm your acceptance of monies from the home services company is accompanied by a proper financial disclosure to patients (if applicable). If you prefer to skip this process, I recommend you pass on the consulting.