A grand jury in a federal court in Texas voted to indict a physician and two pharmacists on charges related to an alleged kickback scheme. An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and the defendants still have the right to enter a plea and, if they plead not guilty, to take their cases to trial, where another jury will decide the verdict. The doctor is being accused of prescribing expensive but medically unnecessary drugs in exchange for bribes from pharmacists and other conspirators, while health insurance companies pay for the medications. When you are practicing medicine, it seems like regulators are always looking over your shoulder and waiting for you to make a mistake. In terms of patients’ well-being, it is much better to make financial mistakes than medical ones, but financial missteps can still lead to authorities asking a lot of questions.
If you are a healthcare professional being accused of financial misconduct, the best way to avoid being convicted of a crime is to contact a Texas white-collar crime lawyer.
The Texas Anti-Kickback Statute
Kickbacks are money paid for business referrals in circumstances where paying for referrals is illegal. In the old days, pharmaceutical companies used to shamelessly ingratiate themselves with physicians in an effort to persuade them to prescribe the pharmaceutical company’s products. If you worked in a doctor’s office in the 1990s, your family or your housemates could count on you to bring home part of a Kroger sheet cake almost every week because the drug companies gave your employer more cake than the employees could possibly eat. The laws are stricter now.
The Texas Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits anyone from offering money or gifts to doctors in exchange for the doctor using the products or services the gift giver is promoting in the doctor’s medical practice when the use of these products or services involves billing federal programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. Doctors who accept bribes can also face charges in federal court whether they bill federal programs or private health insurance companies for the drugs or medical procedures promoted by the gift giver.
How to Prove That You Have Not Violated the Texas Anti-Kickback Statute
The best defense against accusations of violating the Texas Anti-Kickback Statute is good record-keeping and good judgment about treatment decisions. If prosecutors want to prove that you billed insurance companies or federal healthcare programs for medically unnecessary medical tests or treatments, they must first prove that the tests or treatments were medically unnecessary. They must also prove that you filed the billing claims that they allege are fraudulent. With the help of a criminal defense lawyer, you may be able to prove that your actions did not constitute a violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Criminal Defense Cases
A Dallas criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being accused of financial crimes involving bribes or fraudulent healthcare claims. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas, to discuss your case.