Copyright (c) 1999 Loyola University Chicago Institute for Health Law
Annals of Health Law
ARTICLE: Splitting Fees or Splitting Hairs? Fee Splitting and Health Care -
The Florida Experience
8 Ann. Health L. 239
Richard O. Jacobs and Elizabeth Goodman *
In this paper we examine fee splitting under Florida law. This evolving body of health care law is driven by administrative rule making and interpretations of statutory law aimed at prohibiting physicians and other health care professionals from paying for a patient referral. Under the current regulatory environment, there appears to be a lapse of common sense. However, experi ence with other applications of statutory law and rule making suggests that reason and rationalism will eventually prevail over the law of fee splitting.
For example, early court decisions under the Employee Re tirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA") denied medi cal plan participants damage claims against insurers withholding benefits or care for any reason. 1 The courts viewed the preemp tion provisions of ERISA as the basis for denying even the most egregious claims for malpractice or treatment denial damages. With time and the persistence of insured plan participants, and with the assistance of their attorneys, reason has begun to reen ter the ERISA arena.
Until recently, the traditions and ethics of the learned profes sions universally exhibited a strong disdain for marketing and advertising. With that disdain came prohibitions against fee splitting, or paying for patient or client referrals. 2 However, as lines began to blur between businesses and professions, and as professionals became pressured to promote their practices, mar keting freedom increasingly prevailed and the strict promotional rules of some professions have been relaxed. For example, ac countants licensed in Florida ...
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