In the past few years, law enforcement agencies and government attorneys have increased their efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict doctors and others in the health care field who give or receive kickbacks. In fact, federal kickback cases often involve agents, attorneys and resources from multiple federal departments, including the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Office of Inspector General.
Convictions in these cases can result in penalties of up five years in prison, criminal fines up to $25,000 per violation, civil penalties up to $50,000 per kickback plus three times the amount of the remuneration, exclusion from participation in the Federal healthcare programs, and license forfeiture. While the consequences of Florida kickback violations are usually not as severe, state investigations are often prosecuted with as much tenacity as federal violations.
Whether you are being investigated or charged at the state or federal level, it is, therefore, important to get help from a highly qualified trial attorney who is experienced in health care and criminal defense law.
Retain an Attorney Who Is Knowledgeable about the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS)
If you’re charged under the federal Antikickback Statute (AKS), you need an attorney who is familiar with the statute and the Department of Health and Human Services’ AKS rules. The law has been interpreted and applied differently throughout the years, and your attorney needs to understand the latest applications. For example, before the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, the prosecution had to prove the defendant intended to break the law, whereas now, even if intent is not proved, you can still be held liable for fraud under the False Claims Act.
In addition to understanding the latest applications of the law, your attorney should also be familiar with AKS safe harbors and other relevant Department of Health and Human Services’ AKS rules. This includes additions, revisions, clarifications and any updates presently being considered.
Your attorney should also be familiar with potentially related charges so he can effectively develop a comprehensive, strategic defense. For example, if you are indicted for paying or receiving kickbacks under the federal statute, you could also be charged with conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, and healthcare fraud, depending on the particular circumstances of the case.
Make Sure Your Attorney Has Experience Representing Doctors and Other Health Care Providers in Administrative Cases
A government investigation into your involvement with kickbacks can quickly affect your income, ability to practice medicine, and your future. For example, your CMS privileges can be suspended right away, and action can be taken against your medical license. Thus, even if you are not indicted on criminal charges, you can still experience very negative consequences.
A knowledgeable Florida medical license defense attorney can intervene early in the administrative process and help prevent damaging actions against you. However, you should also make sure your attorney is qualified to represent you in state and federal court in case criminal charges are filed.
Work with a Qualified Federal Defense Attorney in Orlando
Doctors and other health care providers cannot afford to underestimate the seriousness of federal or state audits, investigations, or charges involving kickbacks. The penalties for violating the Anti-Kickback Statute can be very serious, especially at the federal level. If you are being investigated or have already been charged with a violation, you need an experienced attorney intervening on your behalf early in the process.
Working with a skilled, qualified federal defense attorney from the start will provide the best opportunity to protect your medical license, your rights, and your freedom. There are no guarantees, but without this protection, you could face huge fines, large civil monetary penalties, and significant time in prison, as well as exclusion from CMS programs and loss of your medical license.
To protect your rights, your career, and your freedom, please get the help you need from an attorney with successful experience as a healthcare and federal criminal defense attorney. Orlando federal defense attorney Jonathan Rose is a skilled healthcare defense attorney with 20 years of experience in state and federal courts. He’ll put his extensive knowledge of healthcare law, federal investigations, and prosecutions to work building a strategic defense that promotes your best interests.