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Be Wary of Payments to Referring Physicians

December 16, 2019

Enforcers and regulators continue to take enforcement action against home care providers’ arrangements with referring physicians.  Recent action by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in United States ex rel. Herbold v. Doctor’s Choice Home Care, Inc. [No. 8:15-cv-1044-T-33AEP (M.D. Fla, Oct. 31, 2019)] is another example of such enforcement actions.

 

In this case initiated by a whistleblower, the federal government intervened in the action against Doctor’s Choice Home Care, Inc., and its owners Timothy Beach and Stuart Christensen.  Enforcers claim that the defendants entered into “sham” medical directorships with three physicians in order to induce patient referrals in violation of both the federal Anti-kickback and Stark statutes.  Referrals obtained in violation of these statutes resulted in the submission of false claims under the Federal False Claims Act.