Beware of Nurses Bearing Gifts

Alisia and David blew the whistle on their former employer, Nurses’ Registry & Home Health, for sending gift baskets and ticket events to doctors who referred patients to the home health operation.  Their qui tam suit alleged that the gifts violated the Stark Law.

The government joined in.  Nurses’ Registry moved for summary judgment, arguing that the gifts fell under the “non-monetary compensation” exception to Stark.

The Eastern District of Kentucky denied the motion, ruling that genuine issues of fact exist.  First, the Stark exception requires that gifts not take into consideration the “volume or value” of referrals.  Second, the exception requires that the gifts not violate the Anti-Kickback Statute.  In this case, the government made credible allegations that the gifts failed both requirements.

So the case is moving forward, and because of the gift baskets and event tickets, Nurses’ Registry is defending itself against charges of violating the Stark Law, the Anti-Kickback Statute, and the False Claims Act.

The case is U.S. ex rel. Robinson-Hill v. Nurses’ Registry & Home Health, Civil Action No. 5:08-145-KKC (E.D.Ky. Jul. 15, 2015).

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