Several federal laws require careful attention

Several laws in addition to the federal False Claims Act and the Fraud Enforcement Recovery Act require careful attention.

Key Points

In the previous Malpractice Consult column, we discussed the federal False Claims Act and the Fraud Enforcement Recovery Act. Other federal laws that require careful attention:

Prohibited conduct is limited by several exceptions and safe harbors, such as a bona fide employment relationship. These exceptions have led to widespread efforts to bypass the AKS, and many of these efforts are now under increased scrutiny. One widely used device is the payment by a specialist to a primary care physician for the periodic use of an examination room within the primary care physician's office suite. If the specialist pays more than fair market value for the space, this action could indicate an AKS violation. Efforts to maximize "rent" payments by including reception services, use of the waiting room, copiers, and other equipment in the computation of fair market value often are highly suspect.

Medical Economics consultant Steven I. Kern, JD, and co-author Daniel Giaquinto, JD, are health law attorneys with Kern Augustine Conroy & Schoppmann in Bridgewater, New Jersey; Lake Success, New York; and Philadelphia. Malpractice Consult deals with questions on common professional liability issues. Unfortunately, we cannot offer specific legal advice. If you have a general question or a topic you'd like to see covered, please send it to