Physicians beware, that gift basket might be a kickback

Nurses' Registry & Home Health in Lexington, Ky., sent gift baskets and event tickets to physicians who referred patients to the facility, and those gifts are now the center of a pending Stark Law, Anti-Kickback Statute and False Claims Act lawsuit, according to a JD Supra Business Advisors report.

Two former employees of Nurses' Registry originally brought the lawsuit under the qui tam, or whistle-blower, provision of the False Claims Act.

The government intervened in the case, and Nurses' Registry subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming the gifts fell under the "non-monetary compensation" exception to Stark Law. However, the court disagreed with Nurses' Registry and denied its motion, according to the report.

Whether sending or receiving these types of gifts, physicians need to be certain the items aren't being offered based on the volume or value of referrals they're making to a facility, which is one requirement of the "non-monetary compensation" exception. Physicians also need to make sure the gifts do not violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, which is the the second requirement of the exception. 

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