Frequently Asked Questions for Pharmacists on Referral Fees
Q: What does North Carolina law say about health care providers paying referral fees?
A: North Carolina law is clear: “A health care provider shall not financially compensate in any manner a person, firm, or corporation for recommending or securing the health care provider’s employment by a patient, or as a reward for having made a recommendation resulting in the health care provider’s employment by a patient. No health care provider who refers a patient of that health care provider to another health care provider shall receive financial or other compensation from the health care provider receiving the referral as a payment solely or primarily for the referral.” NCGS Section 90-401 (emphasis added). Violation of this statute “shall be grounds for the offending health care provider’s licensing board to suspend or revoke the health care provider’s license, to refuse to renew the health care provider’s license, or to take any other disciplinary action authorized by law.” NCGS Section 90-401. The North Carolina Medical Board emphasizes to its licensees that they “may not accept payment of any kind, in any form, from any source, such as a pharmaceutical company or pharmacist, an optical company, or the manufacturer of medical appliances and devices, for prescribing or referring a patient to said source.” (For the Medical Board’s full position statement, “Referral fees and fee splitting”, see http://www.ncmedboard.org/position_statements/detail/referral_fees_and_fee_splitting).