Baird: Hospital joint ventures 'pop up all over the place'
AMARILLO, Texas - Some HME providers are once again entering the legally slippery terrain of hospital joint ventures, said Jeff Baird, a healthcare attorney with Brown & Fortunato here. In April 2003, the OIG issued a special bulletin warning HMEs not to enter into joint ventures with hospitals if the HME assumes all the financial risk. Such arrangements could be construed as an illegal kick back arrangement. Nevertheless, Baird said, he's been seeing such partnerships "pop up all over the place." He's also seeing more providers placing employee liaisons in hospitals and doctors' offices. Such arrangements are okay as long at HME employees don't perform duties normally performed by the doctor or hospital. If they do, it's a kickback, Baird said.