Tag Archives: recovery

The Feds Get Creative Prosecuting Kickbacks

In various health care law blogs and posts, lawyers across the country have been writing about the “Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act” (EKRA) which was adopted as part of the SUPPORT Act of 2018 (the “Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act”). Most if not all of the writings, opinions, and lectures lawyers have been giving are understandably all based upon conjecture, since the federal government has not (to anyone’s knowledge) brought a prosecution yet pursuant to that law.

As a general premise, and much like Florida’s Patient Brokering Act, EKRA prohibits kickbacks between providers of services or between third parties and service providers. The reason for the importance of this law is: (1) many states, aside from Florida, did not have a state-level “anti-patient brokering” law to address the fraud and corruption epidemic amongst various treatment providers and their marketing arms; (2) existing federal law addressed only federally-funded plans such as Medicare, Medicaid and TriCare.  EKRA was viewed as bridging that gap to capture similar criminal behavior amongst persons who obtain reimbursement from private insurance.

Most of the concern expressed is that the law, as drafted, is not (in their opinion) not as clearly articulated as the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) which has Safe Harbors and other regulatory interpretations which have guided health care lawyers since adoption.  Their concern is in their inability to counsel clients as to what behaviors are allowed under EKRA and which would violate that law.

While Congress may have had its own intent, it comes down to the Justice Department to enforce the law, and health care lawyers have been sounding the alarm that governmental overreach in prosecuting what is not otherwise a kickback but “looks” like a kickback is certain to happen, if for no other reason, but due to the constant negative publicity that addiction treatment providers regularly receive in the press.

In contrast, what does not occur in the press with much frequency is the daily arrest, indictment, conviction and plea deals struck with MEDICAL health care providers who violate the AKS (or its similar counterparts, the Stark Law and the False Claims Act).

However, a “tip of the cap” is to be given to the Dallas Morning News and reporter Kevin Krause, who revealed the federal government’s novel attempt to address kickbacks in health care – the federal Travel Act.

In his story published on 4/14/19 entitled “Here’s why doctors should worry about the feds’ novel approach to prosecuting health care kickback cases,” he write the following (with our editorialization in BOLD within):

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Texas doctors who cut business deals with hospitals thought they were in the clear, as long as they avoided Medicare patients and those covered by other federal health insurance programs.

That way, they couldn’t run the risk of violating the federal anti-kickback law. That’s the way it’s always been.

Not anymore.

Using a 60-year-old law, federal prosecutors have found a way to target health care kickback schemes that involve private insurance. The guilty verdicts against surgeons and others in the Forest Park Medical Center case are sending shock waves throughout the U.S. medical community and could upend many doctor-hospital relationships. The trial also revealed just how important doctors are to the financial survival of hospitals, and how far hospitals will go to attract them.

Some attorneys are crying foul, saying the government has moved the goalposts by using the Travel Act, which was passed to crack down on organized crime. Many attorneys are scrambling to advise their clients accordingly. A lot of money is at stake. Marketing agreements, in particular, are suddenly in the hot seat. But consulting agreements, medical directorships and office leasing arrangements are all in the mix, too.

“I think there is a lot of worry,” said Carolyn McNiven, a San Francisco health care lawyer who, like others, was closely watching the seven-week trial in Dallas. “I think a lot of people are walking into a buzz saw that they don’t know is coming.”

The Travel Act gives federal jurisdiction to a wide range of crimes, including bribery, if state lines are crossed using mail or electronic communications. But until recently, it’s never been used in health care fraud cases.

Federal prosecutors used it in Dallas successfully for the first time, in the Forest Park trial that wrapped up last week.

The jury found that Forest Park paid lucrative benefits to surgeons in the form of free advertising in exchange for them bringing their expensive surgeries to the hospital. Such quid pro quos are considered illegal kickbacks.

Dr. Michael Rimlawi, one of the convicted Forest Park surgeons, appeared stunned by the guilty verdict against him last week. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

“I’m in disbelief,” Rimlawi told supporters gathered around him at the federal courthouse in Dallas. “I thought we had a good system, a fair system.”

McNiven and other health care lawyers say they believe the government will view the Forest Park case as a green light to launch more prosecutions in similar cases involving private insurance provided by such companies as Aetna and United Healthcare.

“The entire health care industry is looking at Dallas,” said Nick Oberheiden, a Dallas health care lawyer. “I think this is a complete shakeup.”

James A. Fisher, who has represented whistleblowers in health care fraud cases, said the new enforcement effort is a major step forward.

“I am glad the government aggressively prosecuted that case, because this is a serious problem. If the doctor’s decision is influenced by anything other than the patient’s best interest, then that is a corrupted process,” he said. “It will bring more integrity into decision-making by physicians.”

Two of the nine Forest Park defendants on trial were found by the jury to have violated the Travel Act: Wilton “Mac” Burt, a founder and top manager of the hospital, and Dr. Shawn Henry, a Fort Worth spine surgeon who referred patients to the hospital. The Forest Park prosecution also involved some federal insurance programs like Tricare, the military’s health program.

Four of the defendants were acquitted of charges related to the Travel Act, which some lawyers say should temper the government’s enthusiasm for the law.

Tom Melsheimer represented Dr. Nick Nicholson, a bariatric surgeon, the only Forest Park defendant to be acquitted last week of all charges against him.

“The verdict can be viewed as a pretty serious rebuff of the Travel Act theory as applied to the doctors,” he said. “No doctor who participated in the marketing program was convicted of a Travel Act count.”

Two other Forest Park founders and physicians, Dr. Richard Toussaint and Dr. Wade Barker, pleaded guilty to violating the Travel Act.

Most Forest Park defense attorneys declined to comment after the verdicts. Some said they plan to appeal. The convictions are not final until affirmed by an appellate court.

Doctors and their surgeries are critical for a hospital’s bottom line, and thus getting patients in the door and on the operating table has become big business — to such an extent that prosecutors say Forest Park had to bribe doctors for surgeries when it opened and for several years afterward.

Two Forest Park doctors, for example, operated there up to 14 times a day, from early morning until night, according to trial testimony. A recent survey found that doctors legally generate an average of $2.4 million per year for their affiliated hospitals.

The survey shows that doctors “continue to drive the financial health and viability of hospitals,” said Travis Singleton, executive vice president of Merritt Hawkins, a Dallas physician search firm that conducted the survey. The results were released as the Forest Park trial got underway.

Certain medical specialties generate the most revenue. Orthopedic and cardiovascular surgeons, for example, bring in an average of over $3 million for their hospitals each year, according to the survey.

Marketing arrangements between doctors and hospitals are commonplace across Texas, according to testimony during the Forest Park trial. Under such contracts, hospitals pay to advertise the practices of doctors who bring their surgeries to the hospital. But Forest Park picked up 100 percent of the tab even though the ads barely, if ever, mentioned the hospital.

That is a benefit, prosecutors argued — a lucrative one that helped the doctors grow their practices significantly.

The Forest Park surgeons argued there were no strings attached to that money. But prosecutors convinced a jury otherwise, showing that the doctors were being paid to steer their patients to Forest Park — and hiding behind legal contracts to do so.

At least three other Dallas hospitals have paid doctors for patients using marketing agreements, according to federal prosecutors.

Two of them, Vista Hospital and Victory Hospital, have since shut down like Forest Park. The third, Pine Creek Medical Center, paid a $7.5 million fine to the government in 2017 for a scheme similar to the one at Forest Park — paying doctors for patient referrals with free advertising on billboards, radio and TV, and the internet, according to the U.S. attorney.

The Pine Creek case came to light in a whistleblower lawsuit filed by two of the hospital’s former marketers. That scheme, however, involved Medicare and Tricare beneficiaries and did not employ the Travel Act and Texas’ commercial bribery law.

Pine Creek’s new chief executive, Dan Gideon, said his hospital has some new owners and is meeting the terms of its five-year corporate integrity agreement with the government. He said no additional concerns have been raised.

At Forest Park, surgeries meant big bucks.

When the hospital opened in 2009, there was already a healthy competition for patients. Forest Park had another challenge: It wasn’t in any insurance networks and it didn’t accept Medicare patients.

Forest Park’s top administrator, Alan Beauchamp, didn’t mince words about the urgency of patient referrals.

“We need more bodies on the table,” he told Israel Ortiz, a clinic owner and co-defendant who admitted to selling patients to Forest Park.

The question then for hospitals, especially new ones, is how to legally attract patients without offering improper financial incentives.

Jacob T. Elberg, an associate professor at Seton Hall University School of Law in New Jersey, understands those business pressures.

When he was a federal prosecutor, he led a massive kickback prosecution in New Jersey that ultimately resulted in the convictions of over 50 defendants, including 38 doctors. The case, which wrapped up last year, involved a lab called Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services, which paid kickbacks to doctors for patient referrals.

Elberg’s case is believed to be the first time a federal jury convicted someone of violating the Travel Act in a health care fraud case.

The Travel Act was passed in 1961 to crack down on organized crime. The law makes it illegal to use the mail or other forms of interstate commerce to commit any “unlawful activity,” such as bribery. The federal law essentially piggybacks on state commercial bribery laws like the one in Texas, which apply to health care schemes involving private health insurance.

The government doesn’t even have to show patient harm in such cases.

Elberg, who was chief of the District of New Jersey’s health care and government fraud unit, said many states don’t have the resources or the expertise to take on large-scale prosecutions for health care bribes and kickbacks.

Texas has never enforced its commercial bribery law, according to testimony in the Forest Park trial.

“This is an area where there hasn’t been as much enforcement as there should be,” Elberg said.

Certain health care providers have taken advantage of that for years, he said. But Elberg said his case had a major deterrent effect.

“We were aware of misconduct that was ongoing that stopped as a result of this,” he said.

Oberheiden, the Dallas lawyer, said having a marketing contract that on its face complies with the law will no longer suffice for doctors.

“If the motives behind it are not legitimate, then the contract is not worth the paper it’s written on,” he said.

Lawyers, Oberheiden said, will need to be careful about authorizing such contracts and then closing their eyes to what they will be used for. And clients need to understand that “if undisclosed motives don’t match the language of the contract, then it’s useless.”

Jeff Ansley, a Dallas health care lawyer, called the Forest Park case and its use of the Travel Act a creative yet “very aggressive prosecution.”

He said the case will add confusion to the question of which doctor business practices are appropriate. The Justice Department should provide more legal guidance on the matter, Ansley said, particularly since doctors aren’t trained in the business of medicine.

“There is a lot of gray out there,” he said of doctor marketing arrangements. “It’s increasingly unclear where the lines are.”

In the Forest Park case, well-educated and respected practitioners had their business agreements vetted by lawyers and still got convicted, Ansley said. They included surgeons who pioneered techniques that cut down on infection and speed up recovery.

“You wouldn’t think they went to medical school to commit fraud, and here they are,” Ansley said.

McNiven, the San Francisco lawyer, echoed those concerns, saying those in the health care industry rely on “predictability” in enforcement.

“The application of the Travel Act really upended what people thought were the acceptable rules of the road,” she said. “I do feel like this is hiding the ball.”

Most lawyers are familiar with the federal Stark and anti-kickback laws, but they aren’t thinking about state commercial bribery laws like the one Texas has on the books, she said.

Jason Ross, an attorney for Burt, said the government’s prosecution should concern “individuals and companies in the health care industry.” He said it “marks an expansion of federal law enforcement” by “alleging fraud against private insurers by way of the Travel Act’s ability to federalize state laws.”

“The specter of more aggressive federal criminal enforcement of this type could certainly shift the balance of power in favor insurance companies, to the detriment of health care providers,” Ross said.

Ansley and McNiven said the ultimate impact of the Forest Park case might be to discourage many doctors from engaging in any sort of business relationships.

And that would be bad for doctors and patients, they said.

EDITORS NOTE: We have been reading stories like this for years, and the common answer has always been, “how are we to conduct business if the standard commercial business rules don’t apply?” The answer is very simple – do not engage in any form of quid pro quo, any form of incentive or benefit, or anything that would steer clients as a result of a pecuniary gain, rather than what is in the best interests of the patient. While many providers across all health care paradigms complain that the intent of the laws passed are being abused by law enforcement and causing unreasonable and unpredictable disruption in the health care economy, the issue continues to emphasize the serious conflict between free market enterprise and the public policy regarding healthcare. This issue is clearly going to be a constant theme in the 2020 Presidential election and for many years to come.

The re-posting of this story is for informational purposes only. We are neither endorsing or commenting on any statement made by any lawyer or person in the article. Language inbold letters is for illustration and emphasis purposes only.

What Does It Mean When We Call Addiction a Brain Disorder?

When the 2016 Florida Legislature allocated funds for the formation of the Palm Beach County Sober Homes Task Force, my first instinct was that the State of Florida was looking at the conundrum we here in South Florida were facing through the wrong shade of glasses. To target “sober homes” was simply feeding into the local movement to eradicate addicts in recovery from living amongst society, a long-standing issue which required the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene nationally under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The “problem” that we were all experiencing was not “sober homes” [a term, by the way, which has taken on a pejorative meaning, and therefore now rightfully distinguished as either a “Recovery Residence” or a “flop house”], but rather the economy created within the health care sector for delivery of clinical services; the “churn and burn” of patients’ insurance benefits. Law enforcement and government regulators were unable at the time to grasp the vast underground network that was truly the foundational underpinning of everything that was going wrong. Flop houses were merely the effect; the cause was the demand from “health care entrepreneurs” for bodies to put through the machine to bill insurance and make money and the failure of the entire system to sufficiently develop a standard for treatment and post-treatment recovery that health insurance would be required to pay for as being “medically necessary.” This disconnect was further exacerbated by old school, traditional ways of recovery, such as AA and sober living providers, for whom “treatment” was not available decades ago, and who today understandably question the “medicalization” of addiction treatment and care.

As one of the original appointees to the Task Force, it was a pleasant surprise to find that the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office inherently understood this as well. Their focus was on the entire health care industry serving those afflicted with Substance Use Disorder, and would NOT allow itself to be used as a puppet to develop more sophisticated exclusionary zoning tactics that for far too long had been used to ostracize addicts from cities and make access to care difficult at best. The empaneling of the Palm Beach Grand Jury to study the entire industry simply underscored and emphasized Dave Aronberg’s commitment to fact-finding.

The “Proviso Committee” of the Task Force were made of up health care practitioners, government officials, and industry representatives, who themselves, as a committee, would examine the modern paradigm of addiction care and associated recovery organizations to make recommendations to the Florida Legislature on how to effectively address where the wheels came off the wagon in Palm Beach County and to prevent similar issues developing statewide. Mr. Aronberg noted early on both that “we can’t arrest our way out of this problem” and that addiction treatment and recovery communities have been a long-standing, respectable, and honorable part of the fabric of Palm Beach County.Early on, the Task Force came to recognize the disparate opinions within the field itself. While some felt strongly the focus should be on recovery support services, others leaned towards a medical model of care (to include MAT). Advocates on both sides seemed (and appear to continue to be) at odds over what is the “right” way to address the current opioid epidemic, and well as how to define “best practices” for our future. Even those on the medical/clinic side seemed to debate whether addiction was rightfully classified as a “disease” or a “brain illness.”

As our science has evolved (rather quickly, it seems of late), Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), attempted to address the medical side of addiction care and the role that recovery support services has, in her article published in Scientific American entitled “What Does It Mean When We Call Addiction a Brain Disorder?” In the article, she writes:

Yet the medical model of addiction as a brain disorder or disease has its vocal critics. Some claim that viewing addiction this way minimizes its important social and environmental causes, as though saying addiction is a disorder of brain circuits means that social stresses like loneliness, poverty, violence, and other psychological and environmental factors do not play an important role. In fact, the dominant theoretical framework in addiction science today is the biopsychosocial framework, which recognizes the complex interactions between biology, behavior, and environment.

Critics of the brain disorder model also sometimes argue that it places too much emphasis on reward and self-control circuits in the brain, overlooking the crucial role played by learning. They suggest that addiction is not fundamentally different from other experiences that redirect our basic motivational systems and consequently “change the brain.”

Some critics also point out, correctly, that a significant percentage of people who do develop addictions eventually recover without medical treatment. It may take years or decades, may arise from simply “aging out” of a disorder that began during youth, or may result from any number of life changes that help a person replace drug use with other priorities. We still do not understand all the factors that make some people better able to recover than others or the neurobiological mechanisms that support recovery—these are important areas for research.

But when people recover from addiction on their own, it is often because effective treatment has not been readily available or affordable, or the individual has not sought it out; and far too many people do not recover without help, or never get the chance to recover. More than 174 people die every day from drug overdoses. To say that because some people recover from addiction unaided we should not think of it as a disease or disorder would be medically irresponsible. Wider access to medical treatment—especially medications for opioid use disorders—as well as encouraging people with substance use disorders to seek treatment are absolutely essential to prevent these still-escalating numbers of deaths, not to mention reduce the larger devastation of lives, careers, and families caused by addiction.

My takeaway from this is article is that my layperson opinion remains unchanged – medical treatment and recovery support services are the “yin” and “yang” of the same medallion. They cannot be separated but rather should be integrated into a continuous model towards sustainable recovery. Each path is different, as each person’s genetics as well as upbringing and life-experiences are unique. We are each a small universe onto ourselves. Therefore, it is my opinion that the billions of dollars being thrown into the “medical” side of the equation but failing entirely to fund the “recovery” side is to simply a band-aid. While I recognize and appreciate American hesitancy to adopt a welfare state for anyone, including the disabled, we must therefore double our efforts to fund and explore brain science so that effective modalities can be implemented which provide people seeking recovery with an accelerated jump start. Medication-Assisted Treatment is but one of those more recent efforts. But we can do more, and as a nation, should spend more, doing so.

Recommitting to the Mission

Dear Friends and Subscribers:

First, Happy Holidays to all. This is my favorite time of year, mostly because this is when the new Star Wars movies come out.

But it is also a time of reflection, appreciation, gratitude, and recommitting ourselves to your own life’s purpose and mission.

As we all move into 2018, while the treatment and recovery residence business communities have taken their unfair share of lumps in the press (since it is widely accepted as fact that far more good comes from the Recovery Business Community, than bad), we must continue to press on to change the narrative that people with Substance Use Disorders are not second-class/disposable human beings; that while “recovery” may begin in treatment, it is only fully realized in a supportive recovery community setting; and that we are all in this together – the afflicted, the first responders, citizens, government officials, parents, normies, lawyers, doctors, legislators, DCF, AHCA, DOH, and on and on.

But to that point of “recommitment of purpose,” I must admit a rather large failing that I have. I tend to want to see only the good in people and therefore tend to trust more than perhaps I should.

I have been deceived, actually lied to, manipulated, and used as a tool by clients who (I came to learn too late), never really wanted to heal our nation, but rather whose sole and exclusive purpose was to make money off of the pain.

That said, if I was ever to get a tattoo, it would say “It’s ok to do ‘well’ by doing ‘good’.”

I am a firm believers that profit motivation drives innovation, creativity, and the new discoveries that have always made our state and nation the greatest place on Earth.

I fully, 100%, support the private sector as the solution to getting our way out of this addiction crisis, which is far beyond a public health emergency. It is a national crisis that simply shows no sign of receding. It may sadly become to new “normal,” much like mass gun shootings in malls, movie theaters, churches, and schools.

However, and lately, I find myself getting worn down from it all. I become, admittedly, cranky. I become cantankerous. I become distrustful. I become jaded. I become angry and mean and resentful.

Then I am reminded of that saying attributed to the Buddhist faith that: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Maybe I missed out by not being addicted and going through recovery.

I find that those friends who have had to endure the life crucible of addiction and recovery to be at a different and oftentimes better place that I am. And very likely the reason why the Recovery Community is the best “community” that I have ever encountered in my lifetime as a native third-generation South Floridian.

As the New Year and holidays are upon us, I wish each of you nothing but the best and only ask in return that you, too, recommit yourself to the purpose and mission and privilege of working with and among these most exceptional people.

The Positive Economic Impact of the Treatment Industry and Recovery Community

The health care industry is the job engine of many parts of the U.S., aided by funding as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Florida, California, Texas, and other states are no different, specifically and including the number of well-paying jobs for professionals and para-professionals in the drug and alcohol treatment industry.

While some cities would prefer not to have treatment providers and recovery residences in their jurisdiction, that really cutting off the proverbial nose to spite one’s face.

We don’t have the numbers (yet) but no one will doubt the major economic driver that the treatment and housing industry is for the South Florida region.

According to a newly-released report by the New York Times in relation to Republican efforts to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act:

“Whatever happens, the economy of every state will be affected. Across the country, the health care industry has become a ceaseless job producer — for doctors, nurses, paramedics, medical technicians, administrators and health care aides. Funding that began flowing in 2012 as a result of the Affordable Care Act created at least a half-million jobs, according to an analysis by Goldman Sachs.”.

Similarly, universities such as Florida Atlantic, University of Miami, and Nova Southeastern, that have strong social work and other behavioral clinical programs, rely upon the robust treatment industry and recovery community for employment for their graduating students.

An economic impact review by the American Hospital Association concluded that workers’ earnings combined with their spending on groceries, clothing and the like generate millions of dollars per year in economic activity and helped create thousands of jobs beyond their own. “The goods and services hospitals purchase from other businesses create additional economic value for the community. With these “ripple effects” included, each hospital job supports about two additional jobs, and every dollar spent by a hospital supports roughly $2.30 of additional business activity.”

Similar results apply to the robust treatment and housing industry within Palm Beach County and throughout Florida, as well as the rest of the nation.

In the effort to regulate the treatment and housing industry, we have used chemotherapy to rid the scourge of bad players from the playing field. However, in doing so, we may have found that many good providers have been scared off too, fearful that regulators and law enforcement are using this is a pre-text at the behest of the electorate, where one may be able to “beat the rap” but will be unable to “beat the ride.”

In the meantime, recognition of the positive economic benefit that this industry has on Florida and the entire nation should be further studied, recognized, and supported.

The alternative is to eliminate the entire system, and to leave those suffering with no alternatives whatsoever.

The Wearable Medical Tech Industry Keeps Going

Happy Fall to everyone. With the release of the new iPhone 6 and the new Apple Health App, the “wearable tech” market is really gaining traction. Along with the exercise bracelets which are now ubiquitous, many other tech companies will soon be releasing their own gadgets to compete on what is expected to be the next big thing.

I was reading this morning the following at Politico.com: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/health-applications-wearables-congress-111299.html

As the market for the devices grows, however, the companies that make them and collect the data are coming under increasing scrutiny over privacy and security issues, because everything from heartbeats to insulin deficiencies will be stored on the devices and possibly on the cloud. Under the old Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), these devices – Fitbits, Jawbones and the like – aren’t covered. But some regulators and lawmakers believe that at least some of them should be regulated like other medical devices.

The tech industry is trying to stay one step ahead of the regulators, and Apple is leading the way.

Again, it is only a matter of time before someone sits down to create the app to monitor sobriety, blood levels, and the like. You could be the one…..

Top 10 Reasons to Register for the FARR Annual Conference

1. If Recovery Residences don’t demonstrate that we have successfully organized under the FARR umbrella, well-funded and highly organized NIMBY forces will kick our butts in the next legislative session.

2. We’re now beginning to set the agenda rather than simply react to those fueled by stigma and ignorance. This requires unity, solidarity and scale. Join us and help make a difference!

3. Responsible and ethical service providers within the recovery residence and IOP sectors must group together now so that all stakeholders can distinguish the “good guys” from the “bad guys”.

4. This is your trade association! Your voice and active participation matters. Sitting idly by, pointing fingers and lamenting the sad state of affairs isn’t going to change much, is it? Let’s get connected!

5. Those of us who are “fighting the good fight” on behalf of this sector need your support. Surely it’s not too much to ask for a one day & $95.00 commitment to support those who volunteer hundreds of their own?

6. Conference content is timely, on task and addresses important issues impacting all sectors along the care continuum. Together we can shape the future of ROSC here in Florida.

7. State legislators and local, municipal leaders are betting on their belief that as a group we’re too self-centered to gain organized momentum. Don’t let them gloat next session with a smug “told you so”.

8. FADAA represents the ‘managed entities” here in Florida. These are potential referral sources for many recovery residences. DAF, CARP, BARC, Henderson, New Horizons, Operation Par, Stewart Marchman to name but a few.

9. Aren’t most of us all about the value of peer-to-peer interactivity? This conference is a very real opportunity to network with your peers and engage in dialog concerning issues that directly impact the entire spectrum.

10. In the substance abuse treatment continuum, it all comes down to “reputation, reputation, reputation”. Florida has developed a national reputation as the Wild, Wild, West. Together, we become a force to restore our good name.

If you are interested in attending, you can register here. Get a conference schedule here and I hope to see you at my townhall discussion about the “Legal Challenges with Rent Assistance.”

How to Reconcile Integration with Anti-Kickback Laws and Market-Based Compensation

“Many hospitals are hiring and contracting with doctors to boost referrals and serve members in their coordinated-care networks. But how to pay those doctors has become a legally perilous area under the federal Stark and anti-kickback laws and the False Claims Act, with whistle-blowers, their attorneys and the Justice Department watching these transactions closely. Halifax and other recent big-dollar whistle-blower cases involving allegations that hospitals violated Stark self-referral rules in paying physicians highlight the huge stakes for hospitals, which are at risk for triple damages under the False Claims Act. Those damages are based on total billings, making the potential damages in these cases enormous.”

“The tough part for hospital leaders is that these legal pressures are at odds with public policy and market forces pushing health systems toward greater integration to improve care coordination and reduce costs. The federal government hasn’t reconciled its goal of encouraging integration with its desire to prove that it’s tough on fraud and abuse. As a result, systems pursuing integration will need to be even more vigilant because they’re stepping closer to the line where traditional Stark law enforcement might come into play.”

Read the full story here:
http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20140308/MAGAZINE/303089982/caught-between-competing-pressures?AllowView=VXQ0UnpwZTVDZlNXL1I3TkErT1lBajNja0U4VUNlWlZFQk1JQmc9PQ==&utm_campaign=am