Reviewing the anti-kickback safe harbor for space rentals

As a healthcare provider in Houston, you understand that your conduct is often highly scrutinized in order to ensure that no one is making attempts to influence your practices or judgments. You might think that the regulations governing activity that some may view as an unlawful kickback are relatively straightforward, yet that is not always the case. 

Indeed, many physicians have come to us here at Hilder & Associates, P.C. asking why they face accusations of fraud for practices that they view as fairly normal and innocuous. If you share their questions and concerns, rest assured that in many cases supposed kickbacks are actually covered under federal safe harbor statutes. 

Exceptions to anti-kickback statutes 

Anti-kickback laws prohibit you from receiving any sort of financial remuneration regarding the referral of patients. You might only view cash payments as remuneration, but federal officials also include any form of compensation in this category, such as gifts, travel and meals, or excessive benefits for consultations. 

Free rent is another form of remuneration that can trigger an accusation of receiving kickbacks. However, if you have a non-conventional rental agreement, it may fall into under the umbrella of safe harbors. 

Detailing the federal space rental safe harbor 

Per Section 1001.952 of the Code of Federal Regulations, space rental payments made to you are not considered remuneration in the following scenario: 

  • You have a detailed lease agreement 
  • The lease addresses the use of parts of the premises it covers 
  • The lease details the part-time use of the premises (if not occupied by the lessee full-time) 
  • The lease runs longer than one year 
  • The lease payment reflects fair market value and no incentive for any referral of business 
  • The leased space is not more than needed to accomplish the purpose of its occupation 

You can find more information on answering accusations of healthcare fraud throughout our site.