By: Jeff Cohen
Concepts that drive sober home relationships like Anti-Kickback Statute, Patient Brokering Act and Safe Harbor have become ingrained in the minds of nearly every addiction treatment provider’s thought process, especially in Florida with the development of the Sober Home Task Force. Providers now seem to fully embrace ideas like–
- There’s a federal law (the Anti-Kickback Statute, the “AKS”) that can bring criminal liability for marketing done incorrectly;
- There’s a state law, the Florida Patient Brokering Act (“PBA”), that can do the same;
- Complying with the federal safe harbors and the bona fide employee exception is important, even when there are no state or federal healthcare program dollars involved;
- Paying anyone for marketing, not just on a commission based sales model, without fully appreciate the applicable laws is dangerous, costly and invites criminal inquiries and liability; and
- Achieving compliance with applicable federal law should be part of any recovery business’ overall compliance plan.
Recovery providers must become familiar with not only the AKS and state restrictions like the PBA, but also the law’s permitted examples, so called “Safe Harbors,” which specify specifically permitted arrangements (42 CFR 1001.952). The “personal services arrangement and management contract” Safe Harbor, for instance, has particular application in the area of marketing, as does the AKS exception for “bona fide employment arrangements,” which apply to “bona fide” W-2 employees (entailing direction, supervision and control), but not independent contractor relationships.read more