Anti-Kickback and Self-Referral – Selling an optometry practice to an ophthalmology group
referral stream exists between the buyer and seller's practices. This often occurs between optometry and ophthalmology groups in co-management of vision care patients for procedures such as Lasik refractive surgery. A buyer cannot condition the sale of the practice on maintaining existing patient referrals or steering additional referral volume. Per a recent AOA article: Stark is a strict liability law and may be violated regardless of the O.D.'s good intentions to benefit patient care or improve patient access to health care resources. Penalties for violations of the Stark Law may be greatly increased if the intent of the arrangement is to secure patient referrals in violation of the federal Anti-kickback Statute or the federal False Claims Act. O.D.s are urged to contact their lawyers to help them determine whether a proposed activity would violate the Stark Law or whether an exception is available. The US Department of Health and Human Services publishes an online archive of kickback and self referral cases.