Health and Human Services Takes Aim at Physician Compensation by Whitney K. Schiffer, CPA

Posted on September 08, 2015 by Whitney Schiffer

The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is warning physicians to take a closer look at their compensation agreements to ensure compliance with anti-kickback statutes. More specifically, HHS is on the lookout for physicians who enter into compensation arrangements, such as medical directorships with hospitals or other organizations, which reflect the potential for past or future patient referrals rather than the fair-market value of the services the physicians provide.


The alert comes on the heels of HHS’s settlement with a dozen individual physicians whose “questionable” compensation took into consideration the “volume and value of [the physicians’] referrals” and included payment from related entities to the physicians’ office staff. While HHS concedes that the organizations making the payments are liable for their actions, the deferral agency is putting the onus on physicians to ensure the terms and conditions of their medical directorships are structured and monitored appropriately to comply with anti-kickback laws. Failure to do so may result in personal liability, including risk of criminal, civil and administrative sanctions.


The advisors with Berkowitz Pollack Brant’s Audit practice work closely with doctors, physician groups, hospitals and other providers to ensure compliance with healthcare laws through proper managements of internal controls and reviews, compilations and audits of financial statements.


About the Author: Whitney K. Schiffer, CPA, is a director with the Audit and Attest Services practice of Berkowitz Pollack Brant, where she works with hospitals, health care providers, HMOs and third-party administrators. She can be reached in the firm’s Miami office at (305) 379-7000 or via email at