United States v. Patel, No. 14-2607 (7th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Defendant-appellant Dr. Kamal Patel was a physician who commonly prescribed home health care services for his patients. Federal investigators learned that defendant had been receiving undisclosed payments from Grand Home Health Care. Patel was charged with six counts of violating (and one count of conspiring to violate) the Anti-Kickback Statute. During his bench trial, at the close of the government’s evidence, defendant moved to acquit, arguing that he had not “referred” any patients to Grand because there was no evidence that he steered or directed his patients to Grand; rather, the patients independently chose Grand as their provider after defendant prescribed home health care. The district court rejected that argument, holding that, even if a patient had initially chosen Grand, defendant “referred” the patient to Grand when he certified or recertified that the patient needed care, that the care would be provided by Grand, and that Grand could be reimbursed by Medicare for services provided. On appeal, defendant argued that the district court erred by holding that the certification and recertification, via a standardized Medicare form (Form 485), of patients for treatment constituted a “referral” under the Anti-Kickback Statute. He also argued that even if those certifications were referrals, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Patel was paid “in return for” certifications, as required by the statute. Finding no reversible error, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment.