Considering online advertising? Stay clear of “fee-splitting” or kick-back laws

In a recent article, Oregon Healthcare News reminded healthcare providers to use caution when looking to boost business and profits by using mutually-beneficial internet relationships. The federal government – and multiple states – have laws prohibiting healthcare industry kickbacks as a means of profit. These laws exist to avoid payment incentives that may not be tied to patients’ best interests. When advertising causes provider’s motives for profit to supersede patient welfare, buyer beware!

Some examples that may run afoul of kickback laws include hosting a vendor on your website in exchange for a fee or receiving a referral fee each time one of your patients purchases the vendor’s product.

When examining online advertising opportunities, healthcare providers are encouraged to research their the applicable federal and state regulations about kickbacks (often referred to as fee-splitting). Check with your individual licensing boards before purchasing advertising.