The federal anti-kickback statute (Section 1128B(b) of the Social Security Act) provides criminal penalties for people or entities that knowingly and willfully offer, pay, solicit, or receive remuneration to induce or reward the referral of business reimbursable under federal healthcare programs.

According to the statue:

  • the offense is a felony, punishable by fines up to $25,000 and imprisonment up to five years;
  • remuneration can include kickbacks, bribes, and rebates;
  • prohibited conduct includes payment intended to induce or reward referral of patients and to induce or reward the purchasing, leasing, or ordering of, or arranging for any good, facility, service, or item reimbursable by any federal healthcare program;
  • Congress created safe harbor provisions, specifying payment and business practices that would not be treated as criminal offenses;
  • the ACA includes provisions that could affect liability under the anti-kickback statute, including a protection of drug discounts provided for under the Medicare Coverage Gap Discount Program.

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