How Do You Pay Your Marketing Team?

Caution is necessary when compensating salespeople or staff for referrals or marketing team, as offering any portion or commission is restricted by state and federal laws. To learn more, check out the video!

Referenced Case

Physical Therapist Convicted for Paying Health Care Kickbacks



We receive calls from members on a regular basis regarding marketing and how they can pay salespersons, how they can pay staff members that give referrals, or salespersons, or sales and marketing companies in regard to referrals or for marketing their services. There are two things that we want to point out and give extreme caution in this area.

The first is understand that there are both state and federal laws, right. So, under the state side of things, understand that the Medical Practice Act specifically prohibits dividing a professional fee with someone for referral or otherwise. In fact, it exactly states this, that someone who is licensed in the Medical Practice Act, which includes you, may not directly or indirectly divide, share, or split any professional fee or other form of compensation for professional services with anyone in exchange for a referral or otherwise, this is really important. Any professional fee, or other form of compensation in exchange for a referral. So, if you’re giving someone a portion, or a payment, based on the referral that they provide for you, that is a direct violation of the Medical Practice Act. Additionally, here’s what I will tell you that is also a federal offense when it comes down to federally funded programs such as Medicare, super important to remember that especially when we start talking about marketing and referral to other DME companies and things along those lines.

In fact, there really was recently a case where someone, the services that he provided were completely legitimate, but they were paying for those services, or they were paying a commission, they were paying a kickback as it was defined by the courts, and by the jury. They were paying a kickback to the person who was giving them a referral. And so even though the services were completely legitimate because they were paying those, they’re actually going to be sentenced coming up in December. And they’re going to get five years for conspiracy because they involved other people and then 10 years or up by the way, this is all up to but still 10 years for every kickback offense. So, who knows how many that is, I don’t know what it is in that particular case that was just put out by the OIG a couple of days ago. But note, all of these things are important to remember, violation of the Medical Practice Act on the state side of things, violation of the anti-kickback statutes on a federal basis. And it is real. And it’s not even for services that aren’t rendered. Remember, these are services that are rendered, most likely, this particular person that was hit for this that was convicted just recently for this offense, ultimately going to have to also pay back Medicare for all of the services that that Medicare paid for during that timeframe. We’ll find out at sentencing, but these are cautions.

Make sure you’re not paying any of your salespeople any kind of portion or commission or things along those lines based on what is brought into your practice for referral. It is critically important to remember these things, talk to you later.

About Author

Marc Abla, CAE

Marc Abla began working at the Illinois Chiropractic Society in 2002 and became the Executive Director in 2008. He brings his extensive financial, administrative and association experience to the ICS. He is a Certified Association Executive and a graduate of the Certified Leadership Series through the Illinois Society of Association Executives. Additionally, he is a member of the Illinois Society of Association Executives, the American Society of Association Executives, Association Forum, Congress of Chiropractic State Associations, and the American Chiropractic Association.

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