Glossary of Healthcare Operations Terms

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Anti-Kickback Statute

What is Anti-Kickback Statute?

The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits the exchange of anything of value, directly or indirectly, in return for patient referrals or the generation of business reimbursed under federal healthcare programs. It aims to prevent fraud and abuse in healthcare by prohibiting improper financial incentives that could influence medical decision-making.

In what context is Anti-Kickback Statute applicable?

A healthcare provider offers free services to a physician's patients only if the physician refers more patients to their facility. A medical device company provides expensive gifts to doctors in return for recommending their products to patients covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS)?
The AKS is a federal law that prohibits the exchange of anything of value in order to induce or reward referrals for services or items payable by federal healthcare programs, such as Medicare or Medicaid.
Who does the AKS apply to?
The AKS applies to anyone who offers, pays, solicits, or receives remuneration in exchange for referrals for healthcare services or items reimbursed by federal healthcare programs.
What constitutes a "kickback"?
A kickback is any form of remuneration, whether it be cash, gifts, discounts, or any other benefit, offered in exchange for referrals of healthcare services or items.
How is the AKS enforced?
The AKS is enforced by several federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), which investigate allegations of kickbacks and prosecute violators.
What should healthcare providers do to ensure compliance with the AKS?
Healthcare providers should establish and maintain robust compliance programs, conduct regular audits of their arrangements and relationships, seek legal counsel when necessary, and educate their staff about the requirements of the AKS.