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Delaware Dental Board Proposes “Fee-Splitting” Prohibition

The Delaware Board of Dentistry and Dental Hygiene is proposing an amendment to its regulations to ban what it characterizes as “fee-splitting.” The proposed amendment provides that a dentist or dental hygienist may be disciplined for “engaging directly or indirectly in the provision or receipt of anything of value for recommending a dentist or hygienist’s services.” The proposed regulation, however, permits the offering or receipt of “office gifts” on a quarterly basis if the value of the gifts does not exceed $1,000 annually and the gifts are “unrelated to a specific referral.” As the federal and state Anti-Kickback statutes generally prohibit offering or receiving anything of value in exchange for the referral of federal or state health care program business, dentists who provide services payable by federal or state health care programs cannot rely solely on the proposed state regulation as a guideline for permissible gift-giving.

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