The Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a fraud alert warning individual doctors they could face prison time for violating the Anti-Kickback Statute when accepting improper medical directorships in exchange for Medicare and Medicaid referrals.
The alert is another sign of the “increased move to hold individuals accountable and not just big companies,” said Wade Pearson Miller, partner in Alston & Bird’s Health Care Litigation Group.
“The physicians are in a lot of ways the decision makers. They’re the ones making the decisions on what services to utilize,” said Miller.
Doctors, however, can steer clear of severe discipline as long as they follow common sense and avoid directorships that pay too much or are tied to referrals.
“Situations where they’re really going after individuals are the more egregious ones,” said Miller.