This paper discusses some issues related to the Greber case. Greber was a physician and was the owner of Cardio-Med, Inc. The company assisted physicians by making available certain medical equipments to record the cardiac details of patients.
The physicians were paid a certain amount for every patient that they referred. The case deals with out of the way payments made to physicians in order to get more referrals from them. Such payments were more than the actual worth of the jobs done. The case came to light and a case was lodged.
How do criminal and civil law differ?
Answer: The differences between criminal law and civil law pertain to the nature of crime, the person filing the lawsuit, the punishments awarded, and substantiating evidence. With regard to the nature of crime, criminal law relates to illegal conduct, whereas civil law relates to disagreements between two parties and where the complainants haven’t broken any law.
With regard to the person filing the lawsuit, “In criminal cases, the government always files the litigation or lawsuit. In civil law, the plaintiff files the lawsuit and usually is a private party such as a person or corporation” (Main, 2012). With regard to the punishment awarded, in a criminal offence the punishment awarded may range from imposing fines, imprisonment, or capital punishment (depending on the severity of the crime).
In civil offences, the loser is required to compensate the monetary or other losses of the winning party. With regard to the substantiating of evidence, in criminal offences, the prosecutor (most of the time) is responsible for providing the required evidence, whereas in civil cases, mostly the plaintiff has to provide evidence. However, in both cases sometimes the other party also may have to provide evidence.
In what way did this differ from joint venturing?
Answer: In joint venturing the parties involved have control over the business to the extent of their share. Moreover, the agreement is a legal binding for the parties involved. But in this case, there was no binding for either Medicare or the physicians. Medicare paid to the physicians as per the referrals received. The physicians had a free will to refer patients to other medical facilities from where they could get better deals.
Also, there was no legal contract between the two parties. “The execution of a letter of intent (sometimes styled as a memorandum of understanding, term sheet, protocol, summary of terms, or other titles) is the first major undertaking of negotiating a successful joint venture” (Smith & Southwell, 2012). In this case, there was no such understanding. Hence this case is different from joint venturing.
Do you feel that any of the physicians involved dishonored their fiduciary relationship with their patients? If so how?
Answer: Yes, I do believe that the physicians dishonored their fiduciary relationship with their patients. Fiduciary relationship relates to the trust that the patients have over their physicians; trust that makes the patients believe that they will not be cheated. But in this case, in order to earn money, the physicians referred them to such clinics that charged hefty amounts (including their commission).
Pamela Bucy (2010) claims that “Cardio-Med’s payment amount exceeded that which Medicare would have paid the physicians for those services” (p. 40). Medicare paid the excess amount in order to bribe the physicians to send more referrals. So indirectly the patients became a part of this payment scam where payments were made more than what was actually required. This was a financial loss and it was definitely a breach of trust.
Summarize and give your analysis of the verdict of the case employing your own opinion. Do you agree with the verdict? Why or why not?
Answer: According to the court ruling, it was ruled that Medicare made the payments to the physicians in order to induce more referrals. The court also ruled that “If one purpose of the payment was to induce future referrals, the Medicare statute has been violated” (Bucy, 2010).
Stephen Pierce claims that “The Medicare and Medicaid health care programs were created in the mid-1960s in an attempt to ensure that all Americans would receive high quality health care despite their inability to pay” (Pierce, 1986). But what happened in this case was totally in contrast to what was intended. So, yes, I agree with the verdict of the court.
Conclusion: As per the ruling of the court, the payments made to the physicians were done in order to attract more clients to the medical facility. Moreover, the payments received from Medicare were diverted to the physicians; this was totally against the norms.
The court ruled against Greber; Greber was found guilty. I am in favor of the judgment because it is not correct for someone to use, for profit, funds that are meant for other purposes. This case is an example of pure bribing in order to gain profits.
Bucy, P. (2010). Health care fraud: Enforcement and compliance. New York: Law Journal Press.
Main, K. (2012). What is the difference between criminal law and civil law? Web.
Pierce, S. (1986). Comment: United States v. Greber and its effect on the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Web.
Smith, B., & Southwell, T. (2012). Joint Ventures: A Primer. Web.