Labs in Court

EHR Technology Vendor Settles Kickback Charges for $18.25 Million

Case: Athenahealth Inc., a Massachusetts-based EHR software vendor has agreed to fork over $18.25 million to settle charges of paying kickbacks to generate sales. The DOJ complaint cites three marketing programs that allegedly crossed the line:

  • A “Concierge Events” program offering customers and prospects free tickets and trips to high-profile sporting events like the Kentucky Derby;
  • A “Lead Generation” program paying existing customers $3,000 for each new client they signed up regardless of how much time and effort they spent in the effort; and
  • Deals paying competing EHR vendors who were closing shop fees and other remuneration for converting their clients into Athenahealth Inc. clients based on the value and volume of converted practices.

Significance: Even though Athenahealth Inc. is an EHR vendor rather than a lab, the marketing arrangements involved in the case raise kickbacks red flags regardless of the types of providers involved. Accordingly, be sure that the marketing efforts of your own lab don’t involve any of these problematic activities.

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