The Concept of Anti-kickback and Stark Law and Double Standard Across the Industries

Updated: Jun 16

Originally Published by Illumination curated on Medium

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The Federal Anti-Kickback Act (AKS) is one of the prominent federal corruption and abuse bills in the United States. It merely applies to the wide-ranging dispute of interest fraud has on business affairs in the patient care, pharmaceutical, and medical device sectors. The AKS is an unlawful statute that prohibits contracts anticipated to facilitate or award referrals for items or services compensated under federal healthcare policies. The Stark Law (“Stark”) prohibits patients’ self-referral by treating physicians those of certain services reimbursable by Medicare or Medicaid. Such amenities are also implied as designated health services (“DHS”) by elements that the physicians or their immediate family members have a fiscal accord.

Briefly, three main concepts of Stark’s embargo on physician self-referral include- physician referral, DHS, and financial interest. Theoretically, all three intuitions must be encompassed for Stark to apply to a given situation. Thus, Stark is also recognized as a “strict liability law.” It means that the party intending to infringe the law is not deemed lawfully accountable until the government infers whether a violation has transpired. As a result, understanding whether Stark is drawn into a pact involving a physician is essential. Stark law is a technical decree as it applies differently to diverse fact formations. Identification of Bribery in medicine is exponentially fundamental when paralleled to other industries. Merely because of its covenants with human life issues, trust between the patient and the doctor, and the sacred bond exclusively built to ensure the most essential possession of a person dubbed health.

Well-being is precious, and the disposition of ratifying such value is profoundly upheld by the individual qualities captivated by the two parties within that transaction framework. Thus, the Act of subornation is a detrimental element of norms and values of medical care. Even so, — does that imply all the statutes that directly or indirectly restrict the business aspect of medical practice are crucial to stop a few bad apples from giving a lousy caption to the whole stock?!

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To delineate willful deceitful deception from virtuous referrals to a system, physicians have an economic investment in our two unique processions. Even so, the impacts of the widespread application of Stark’s law are overwhelming, one may think differently with my latter supposition founded on the presumption that “the parties who plan to infringe upon the law are not allowed to be outlawed while the government defines whether a violation has occurred.” Yet, despite legal reasoning, such a gray zone in the system would economize on the innocent’s privileges at the dividing line. Therefore, it may be fair to assume that the effect of the stark law implementation in the administration’s sights as to who should be chastised is the predominant cause of blocking referral altogether by physicians.

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