As the shift of surgeries from the hospital setting to the ASC setting accelerates, we’re seeing more fraud at the ASC level.
No, I’m not talking about the significant amount of fraud that comes from the “usual suspects,” criminal operators who bill for medically unnecessary procedures, for procedures that never occurred, and so on.
Instead, as more physicians rush to invest in ASCs, unscrupulous facility promoters/managers scheme to separate physician investors from their money.
This fraud on physicians takes various forms, from securities fraud arising from misrepresentations, failures to disclose, and outright disregard for federal and state securities regulations and the exemptions therefrom, to sophisticated (and even Clouseau-like bungled) financial fraud on investors within the facility’s business operation.
“Compliance” in terms of investing in a surgery center is generally thought of as paying attention to the federal Anti-Kickback statute, state law referral prohibitions, and similar concerns. However, for physician investors it’s equally important to pay particular attention to vetting the overall structure of the deal and its promoters, the past history of the center’s operations, and the conflicts of interest and related-party dealings of those purporting to “manage” the facility.
Think of it this way: The last time I checked, a “physician-money-ectomy” isn’t on the Ambulatory Surgery Center Fee Schedule.
Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.
Mark F. Weiss