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Do chiropractors need to worry about violating referral laws?

Patients are not the only ones who pay the bill when it comes to medical care. In some cases, the government is also spending money. The government may pay the entire or a portion of the bill, for example, for Medicare patients. As a result, lawmakers have put various regulations in place to better ensure the money is used as it is intended.

In most cases, any business that participates in Medicare, Medicaid or other federal entitlement programs falls within the regulations of federal referral laws like the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS). As a result, if your chiropractic practice bills Medicare you will likely need to abide by these regulations.

What is the purpose of these regulations?

Lawmakers passed these laws to better ensure physicians and other medical professionals were making decisions regarding patient care based on the patients’ best interest, not based on their own potential for financial gain.

How can my practice reduce the risk of a violation?

A compliance program can help. You should choose a plan tailored to your practice. A one-size-fits-all approach can leave your practice open to liability. Reduce this risk by avoiding boilerplate documents and having the program drafted with your practice and business operations in mind.

What if the government accuses my practice of violating the Stark Law or AKS?

It is important to take the government's allegations seriously. If the allegations lead to an investigation, the government could move forward with criminal charges against individuals within the practice. An attorney experienced with the nuances of these complex regulations can review the allegations and discuss your options.

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