The Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (“EKRA”) is another bold move by the federal government to combat the country’s national opioid crisis. The federal law known as the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (“EKRA”) makes it illegal for anybody to knowingly and willfully pay or offer any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe, or rebate) directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind to induce a referral of an individual to a recovery home, clinical treatment facility, or laboratory; or solicit or receive any remuneration (including any kickback, bribe, or rebate) directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind- to induce a referral of a patient or patron
Violations of this clause can result in a fine of up to $200,000, a jail sentence of up to 10 years, or both, depending on the severity of the offense. Sanctions, license revocations, or exclusion from government healthcare programs are some of the other penalties that can be applied. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice are in responsibility of enforcing and prosecuting EKRA.
If you are being accused of or have been charged with EKRA violations, contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 right away for a consultation with a California federal crimes defense attorney.
The federal Anti-Kickback Statute and other federal statutes are not as wide as EKRA
EKRA has been chastised for having the potential to punish action that is legal under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute and other federal laws. The Anti-Kickback Statute, in its broadest sense, forbids knowing and willful payments to induce patient referrals or generate business involving any service receivable to government health-care programs. To put it another way, the Anti-Kickback Statute only applies to federal and state-funded health-care programs.
Health care benefit programs, as defined by EKRA, encompass both state and federal healthcare programs (such as Medicare and Medicaid) as well as commercial health insurance policies. As a result, EKRA has a broader scope than the Anti-Kickback Statute. It could apply whenever a company delivers medical services, regardless of whether those services are covered by government insurance plans (federal or state), private health insurance plans, or even when consumers pay for them directly.
Furthermore, EKRA has fewer exceptions than the Anti-Kickback Statute. While the Anti-Kickback Statute has statutory and regulatory safe harbors, the EKRA contains fewer statutory safe harbors and none at all. As a result, EKRA now prohibits conduct that was previously excluded from the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Individuals and corporations are left in the dark about which activity is forbidden and how to reconcile the gaps between EKRA and other federal and state laws against kickbacks due to a lack of federal guidance.
The good news is that individuals or corporations who have been accused of this or crimes involving RICO can contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for a free legal case evaluation.