Home Health Agency Owners Plead Guilty to Kickback Conspiracy

On Friday, May 31, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice released a press release pertaining to two Chicago-area home health agencies. The owners of the home health agencies plead guilty for their involvement in a kickback scheme through which they improperly obtained nearly $2 million dollars in Medicare reimbursements.

The first home health agency, Renaissance Home Health Services, Inc., is co-owned by a husband and wife, who admitted that they made illegal kickback payments to patient marketers and other sources of Medicare patient referrals. These illegal kickbacks resulted in that home health agency improperly receiving approximately $1.6 million dollars in Medicare reimbursement.

The wife co-owns and the husband serves as the administrator for the second home health agency, Axis Healthcare Services, Inc. The married couple admitted that the home health agency made illegal kickbacks to a patient marketer that resulted in the home health agency improperly receiving approximately $365,000 in Medicare reimbursement. The parties involved attempted to conceal the illegal kickbacks by entering into sham arrangements.

This case highlights the federal government’s focus on preventing fraud and enforcing the federal Anti-Kickback Statute’s application to patient marketers and other referral sources. The federal Anti-Kickback Statute provides safe harbors that protect payments made to marketers and referral sources in specific circumstances, provided that all elements of the applicable safe harbor(s) is met.

Benkoff Health Law represents health care providers and suppliers in structuring arrangements with marketers and referral sources to comply with federal and state laws, including the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. If you have any questions about the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or any other health care regulatory compliance questions, please contact Benkoff Health Law at (248) 482-2780 or via email at rbenkoff@benkofflaw.com. You may also subscribe to our health law blog by adding your email at the top of this page.