Giving Away Care

October 1, 2008

Is it legal to give free care to anyone? Can we give free care to our employees that are self-pay? What if they have Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance?

Question: Is it legal to give free care to anyone? Can we give free care to our employees that are self-pay? What if they have Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance?

Answer: If patients are insured, I assume we are talking about making the patient responsibility-free but you’d still be billing the payer. Don’t do it. It’s a breach of your contract with commercial payers and Medicare looks upon it as an illegal inducement.

Frankly, I don’t think you should see your employees at all, since breaches of privacy and conflicts of interest are darned near inevitable. If you do, the rules for them are no different than the rules for everyone else.

You can sure offer time-of-service discounts to self-pay patients.