Physician gifts: Big things come in small packages

8 minute read

A gift goes a long way in showing appreciation, and physicians are no exception. Like the rest of us, they enjoy free restaurant meals and concert tickets. At the holidays, they may be thrilled to be the new owners of a branded coffee cup, notepad, fleece jacket, or blanket. And when a hospital holds its annual golf fundraiser, they are happy to receive “comped” entrance fees. However, providing physicians gifts and other business courtesies can raise compliance concerns.

It typically falls on compliance officers to track and manage these items and determine whether they are subject to the annual limits on physician gifts contained in the “nonmonetary compensation” exception to the federal self-referral law (Stark Law).[1] It might seem that the rules on nonmonetary compensation take the joy out of gift-giving.[2] When expressing appreciation to physicians, the last thing you want to consider is whether you’ve inadvertently crossed the annual limit for in-kind compensation. This article provides an overview of these requirements so you can be confident that your gifts are not creating compliance concerns.

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