In a recent advisory opinion, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) concluded that a proposed arrangement in which a physician practice would provide space, equipment and personnel to other physician practices through part-time (or block) leases could generate prohibited remuneration under the Anti-Kickback Statute. The proposed arrangement would establish a joint-venture between Physician Practice A and other practices whereby Physician Practice A leases to other physician groups on a part-time basis a facility owned by Practice A for the other groups to provide intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to their patients.
The OIG concluded that it was unable to exclude the possibility that the parties' contractual relationship was designed to permit Physician Practice A to do indirectly what it cannot do directly, which is to pay the other practices a share of the profits from those practices' IMRT referrals. Put another way, by agreeing to provide services it could otherwise provide in its own right for less than the available reimbursement, Physician Practice A may provide the other practices with the opportunity to generate a fee and a profit. The OIG also noted that if the intent of the proposed block-lease arrangement was to provide remuneration to the other practices through IMRT profits to induce referrals to the Physician Practice A, the arrangement would violate the Anti-Kickback Statute. To read the advisory opinion, please click here.