Q&A: Patient referral incentive

Understand how the Stark and antikickback laws apply to patient referral incentives.

A: Because these are all cash patients, the Stark and antikickback laws are not relevant. What is relevant, however, is the American Medical Association Judicial Council on Ethics position at 6.021 that physicians should not offer referral incentives to patients because it can distort the doctor-patient relationship. While that is not a legal mandate, many states in their licensure laws require adherence to ethical standards.