Being a successful medical professional is a complicated endeavor nowadays. Not only must physicians have subject matter expertise, but they must also comply with an ever-changing framework of laws, regulations and rules.
Like anyone else, doctors may face criminal charges for violating any federal or state criminal law. If prosecutors go after a physician, it is more than likely for allegedly committing one of the following three offenses.
1. Accepting kickbacks
Doctors see many patients. Some patients require a specialist’s care or a referral to a different doctor. While there are some exceptions, the federal anti-kickback statute typically prohibits accepting or requesting any compensation for patient referrals.
2. Creating fraudulent medical bills
It is a crime to overcharge the government for services or anything else. If doctors artificially inflate bills for Medicaid or Medicare patients, they may be charged with violating the federal False Claims Act.
The same may be true if a physician creates bills for services never rendered. Likewise, if a doctor performs unnecessary or superfluous procedures, prosecutors may bring criminal charges for creating fraudulent medical bills in violation of federal law.
3. Writing fraudulent prescriptions
Modern medicine provides many options for treating most major ailments. Doctors must take their prescription writing authority seriously. If physicians sell prescriptions or write them without legitimate reason, they may face serious charges of prescription fraud.
To avoid prescription fraud charges, doctors must only write prescriptions that are reasonably medically necessary and within the scope of their professional practices. Pharmacists receive extensive training on identifying and reporting fraudulent prescriptions that doctors may write.