Article of the Week: Physicians Falling victim to Bribery

Though practicing physicians should be familiar with the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and the Stark Law, this recent article from The Washington Post suggests that the type of conduct these laws and regulations prohibit may not always be addressed by medical schools to their students.

This article gives a brief narrative of Michele Martinho, an internist who practiced in New York before pleading guilty to one count of accepting a bribe in 2014. This bribe came in the form of monthly cash payments from a New Jersey laboratory facility in exchange for Martinho’s referral of patients to the lab for blood testing and other screening services. Though these monthly cash payments were quite obvious violations of tax law, Martinho claims she was not aware that the referrals themselves were considered kickbacks. As Martinho awaits sentencing, she travels the country speaking to healthcare and ethics institutions about the dangers of accepting any form of remuneration in exchange for services or referrals. Martinho’s story and the additional statistics within this article further underscore the importance of the need to consult a specialized healthcare attorney the moment a potential issue arises.

The article can be found here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/from-physician-to-felon-a-doctor-warns-how-easy-it-is-to-be-bribed/2017/04/11/79c2e9fa-1ee6-11e7-ad74-3a742a6e93a7_story.html?utm_term=.1f15217c43a0