42 CFR 411.354 - Financial relationship, compensation, and ownership or investment interest.

§ 411.354 Financial relationship, compensation, and ownership or investment interest.

(a)Financial relationships.

(1)Financial relationship means -

(i) A direct or indirect ownership or investment interest (as defined in paragraph (b) of this section) in any entity that furnishes DHS; or

(ii) A direct or indirect compensation arrangement (as defined in paragraph (c) of this section) with an entity that furnishes DHS.

(2)Types of financial relationships.

(i) A direct financial relationship exists if remuneration passes between the referring physician (or a member of his or her immediate family) and the entity furnishing DHS without any intervening persons or entities between the entity furnishing DHS and the referring physician (or a member of his or her immediate family).

(ii) An indirect financial relationship exists under the conditions described in paragraphs (b)(5) and (c)(2) of this section.

(b)Ownership or investment interest. An ownership or investment interest in the entity may be through equity, debt, or other means, and includes an interest in an entity that holds an ownership or investment interest in any entity that furnishes DHS.

(1) An ownership or investment interest includes, but is not limited to, stock, stock options other than those described in § 411.354(b)(3)(ii), partnership shares, limited liability company memberships, as well as loans, bonds, or other financial instruments that are secured with an entity's property or revenue or a portion of that property or revenue.

(2) An ownership or investment interest in a subsidiary company is neither an ownership or investment interest in the parent company, nor in any other subsidiary of the parent, unless the subsidiary company itself has an ownership or investment interest in the parent or such other subsidiaries. It may, however, be part of an indirect financial relationship.

(3) Ownership and investment interests do not include, among other things -

(i) An interest in an entity that arises from a retirement plan offered by that entity to the physician (or a member of his or her immediate family) through the physician's (or immediate family member's) employment with that entity;

(ii) Stock options and convertible securities received as compensation until the stock options are exercised or the convertible securities are converted to equity (before this time the stock options or convertible securities are compensation arrangements as defined in paragraph (c) of this section);

(iii) An unsecured loan subordinated to a credit facility (which is a compensation arrangement as defined in paragraph (c) of this section);

(iv) An “under arrangements” contract between a hospital and an entity owned by one or more physicians (or a group of physicians) providing DHS “under arrangements” with the hospital (such a contract is a compensation arrangement as defined in paragraph (c) of this section); or

(v) A security interest held by a physician in equipment sold by the physician to a hospital and financed through a loan from the physician to the hospital (such an interest is a compensation arrangement as defined in paragraph (c) of this section).

(4) An ownership or investment interest that meets an exception set forth in § 411.355 or § 411.356 need not also meet an exception for compensation arrangements set forth in § 411.357 with respect to profit distributions, dividends, or interest payments on secured obligations.

(5)

(i) An indirect ownership or investment interest exists if -

(A) Between the referring physician (or immediate family member) and the entity furnishing DHS there exists an unbroken chain of any number (but no fewer than one) of persons or entities having ownership or investment interests; and

(B) The entity furnishing DHS has actual knowledge of, or acts in reckless disregard or deliberate ignorance of, the fact that the referring physician (or immediate family member) has some ownership or investment interest (through any number of intermediary ownership or investment interests) in the entity furnishing the DHS.

(ii) An indirect ownership or investment interest exists even though the entity furnishing DHS does not know, or acts in reckless disregard or deliberate ignorance of, the precise composition of the unbroken chain or the specific terms of the ownership or investment interests that form the links in the chain.

(iii) Notwithstanding anything in this paragraph (b)(5), common ownership or investment in an entity does not, in and of itself, establish an indirect ownership or investment interest by one common owner or investor in another common owner or investor.

(iv) An indirect ownership or investment interest requires an unbroken chain of ownership interests between the referring physician and the entity furnishing DHS such that the referring physician has an indirect ownership or investment interestin the entity furnishing DHS.

(c)Compensation arrangement. A compensation arrangement is any arrangement involving remuneration, direct or indirect, between a physician (or a member of a physician's immediate family) and an entity. An “under arrangements” contract between a hospital and an entity providing DHS “under arrangements” to the hospital creates a compensation arrangement for purposes of these regulations. A compensation arrangement does not include the portion of any business arrangement that consists solely of the remuneration described in section 1877(h)(1)(C) of the Act and in paragraphs (1) through (3) of the definition of the term “remuneration” at § 411.351. (However, any other portion of the arrangement may still constitute a compensation arrangement.)

(1)

(i) A direct compensation arrangement exists if remuneration passes between the referring physician (or a member of his or her immediate family) and the entity furnishing DHS without any intervening persons or entities.

(ii) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(C) of this section, a physician is deemed to “stand in the shoes” of his or her physician organization and have a direct compensation arrangement with an entity furnishing DHS if -

(A) The only intervening entity between the physician and the entity furnishing DHS is his or her physician organization; and

(B) The physician has an ownership or investment interest in the physician organization.

(iii) A physician (other than a physician described in paragraph (c)(1)(ii)(B) of this section) is permitted to “stand in the shoes” of his or her physician organization and have a direct compensation arrangement with an entity furnishing DHS if the only intervening entity between the physician and the entity furnishing DHS is his or her physician organization.

(2) An indirect compensation arrangement exists if -

(i) Between the referring physician (or a member of his or her immediate family) and the entity furnishing DHS there exists an unbroken chain of any number (but not fewer than one) of persons or entities that have financial relationships (as defined in paragraph (a) of this section) between them (that is, each link in the chain has either an ownership or investment interest or a compensation arrangement with the preceding link);

(ii) The referring physician (or immediate family member) receives aggregate compensation from the person or entity in the chain with which the physician (or immediate family member) has a direct financial relationship that varies with, or takes into account, the volume or value of referrals or other business generated by the referring physician for the entity furnishing the DHS, regardless of whether the individual unit of compensation satisfies the special rules on unit-based compensation under paragraphs (d)(2) or (d)(3) of this section. If the financial relationship between the physician (or immediate family member) and the person or entity in the chain with which the referring physician (or immediate family member) has a direct financial relationship is an ownership or investment interest, the determination whether the aggregate compensation varies with, or takes into account, the volume or value of referrals or other business generated by the referring physician for the entity furnishing the DHS will be measured by the nonownership or noninvestment interest closest to the referring physician (or immediate family member). (For example, if a referring physician has an ownership interest in company A, which owns company B, which has a compensation arrangement with company C, which has a compensation arrangement with entity D that furnishes DHS, we would look to the aggregate compensation between company B and company C for purposes of this paragraph (c)(2)(ii)); and

(iii) The entity furnishing DHS has actual knowledge of, or acts in reckless disregard or deliberate ignorance of, the fact that the referring physician (or immediate family member) receives aggregate compensation that varies with, or takes into account, the volume or value of referrals or other business generated by the referring physician for the entity furnishing the DHS.

(iv)

(A) For purposes of paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section, except as provided in paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(C) of this section, a physician is deemed to “stand in the shoes” of his or her physician organization if the physician has an ownership or investment interest in the physician organization.

(B) For purposes of paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section, a physician (other than a physician described in paragraph (c)(2)(iv)(A) of this section) is permitted to “stand in the shoes” of his or her physician organization.

(3)

(i) For purposes of paragraphs (c)(1)(ii) and (c)(2)(iv) of this section, a physician who “stands in the shoes” of his or her physician organization is deemed to have the same compensation arrangements (with the same parties and on the same terms) as the physician organization. When applying the exceptions in §§ 411.355 and 411.357 to arrangements in which a physician stands in the shoes of his or her physician organization, the “parties to the arrangements” are considered to be -

(A) With respect to a signature requirement, the physician organization and any physician who “stands in the shoes” of the physician organization as required under paragraph (c)(1)(ii) or (c)(2)(iv)(A) of this section; and

(B) With respect to all other requirements of the exception, including the relevant referrals and other business generated between the parties, the entity furnishing DHS and the physician organization (including all members, employees, and independent contractor physicians).

(ii) The provisions of paragraphs (c)(1)(ii) and (c)(2)(iv)(A) of this section -

(A) Need not apply during the original term or current renewal term of an arrangement that satisfied the requirements of § 411.357(p) as of September 5, 2007 (see 42 CFR parts 400- 413, revised as of October 1, 2007);

(B) Do not apply to an arrangement that satisfies the requirements of § 411.355(e); and

(C) Do not apply to a physician whose ownership or investment interest is titular only. A titular ownership or investment interest is an ownership or investment interest that excludes the ability or right to receive the financial benefits of ownership or investment, including, but not limited to, the distribution of profits, dividends, proceeds of sale, or similar returns on investment.

(iii) An arrangement structured to comply with an exception in § 411.357 (other than § 411.357(p)), but which would otherwise qualify as an indirect compensation arrangement under this paragraph as of August 19, 2008, need not be restructured to satisfy the requirements of § 411.357(p) until the expiration of the original term or current renewal term of the arrangement.

(d)Special rules on compensation. The following special rules apply only to compensation under section 1877 of the Act and subpart J of this part:

(1) Compensation is considered “set in advance” if the aggregate compensation, a time-based or per-unit of service-based (whether per-use or per-service) amount, or a specific formula for calculating the compensation is set out in writing before the furnishing of the items or services for which the compensation is to be paid. The formula for determining the compensation must be set forth in sufficient detail so that it can be objectively verified, and the formula may not be changed or modified during the course of the arrangement in any manner that takes into account the volume or value of referrals or other business generated by the referring physician.

(2) Unit-based compensation (including time-based or per-unit of service-based compensation) is deemed not to take into account “the volume or value of referrals” if the compensation is fair market value for services or items actually provided and does not vary during the course of the compensation arrangement in any manner that takes into account referrals of DHS.

(3) Unit-based compensation (including time-based or per-unit of service-based compensation) is deemed not to take into account “other business generated between the parties,” provided that the compensation is fair market value for items and services actually provided and does not vary during the course of the compensation arrangement in any manner that takes into account referrals or other business generated by the referring physician, including private pay health care business (except for services personally performed by the referring physician, which are not considered “other business generated” by the referring physician).

(4) A physician's compensation from a bona fide employer or under a managed care contract or other arrangement for personal services may be conditioned on the physician's referrals to a particular provider, practitioner, or supplier, provided that the compensation arrangement meets all of the following conditions. The compensation arrangement:

(i) Is set in advance for the term of the arrangement.

(ii) Is consistent with fair market value for services performed (that is, the payment does not take into account the volume or value of anticipated or required referrals).

(iii) Otherwise complies with an applicable exception under § 411.355 or § 411.357.

(iv) Complies with both of the following conditions:

(A) The requirement to make referrals to a particular provider, practitioner, or supplier is set out in writing and signed by the parties.

(B) The requirement to make referrals to a particular provider, practitioner, or supplier does not apply if the patient expresses a preference for a different provider, practitioner, or supplier; the patient's insurer determines the provider, practitioner, or supplier; or the referral is not in the patient's best medical interests in the physician's judgment.

(v) The required referrals relate solely to the physician's services covered by the scope of the employment, the arrangement for personal services, or the contract, and the referral requirement is reasonably necessary to effectuate the legitimate business purposes of the compensation arrangement. In no event may the physician be required to make referrals that relate to services that are not provided by the physician under the scope of his or her employment, arrangement for personal services, or contract.

[ 72 FR 51086, Sept. 5, 2007; 72 FR 68076, Dec. 4, 2007, as amended at 73 FR 48751, Aug. 19, 2008; 73 FR 57543, Oct. 3, 2008; 74 FR 62006, Nov. 25, 2009; 80 FR 71374, Nov. 16, 2015]

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