Let’s talk about kickback & digital stores

From the perspective of a 30+ year MD and the interim Chief Medical Officer of Frontrow Health.


Recently, I posted about why it’s imperative that providers build digital stores and educate patients on products they can trust-–because patients are lost shopping off of TikTok ads, from influencers, and more.

Since then, providers reached out to share that they’ve also seen an increase in the number of patient questions related to products they see ads for online, but that they were worried about kickback regulations and getting paid for clicks on products through their store.

It’s a great (and important) question, so I thought I’d address it in a new post.

Let’s refresh on key provider compensation regulations:

01 | Stark Law: “Stark prohibits physicians from referring Medicare beneficiaries to an entity in which they (or an immediate family member) have a financial relationship (including compensation and ownership relationships) for “designated health services” (DHS) unless an exception applies.”

02 | Anti-kickback Statute: “AKS makes it a criminal offense to knowingly and willfully offer, pay, solicit, or receive any remuneration to induce or reward referrals of items or services reimbursable by a Federal health care program.”

In summary, providers can’t receive compensation for referring a patient to a service that is reimbursable by Medicare or Medicaid, or referring a Medicare / Medicaid beneficiary to a service from which they receive payment.

How Frontrow’s digital store model ensures strict compliance:

Plain and simple, you will not be paid for…

01 | Any clicks from shoppers who are Medicare/Medicaid beneficiaries

02 | For clicks related to products that are reimbursable by Medicare or Medicaid

03 | And (to be hyper-cautious) clicks related to products that could be reimbursable by even private insurers.

For context, we only have a few products that meet any of the above qualifications anyway, but in the case you do add them to your store, you will not be compensated for any clicks related to these products.

How Frontrow goes above and beyond:

We take provider compensation seriously. For that reason, we’ve also instituted these 3 regulatory controls:

01| Providers are paid regardless of whether the patient buys the product.

02 | Providers are paid by Frontrow, not the product manufacturer.

03 | Providers are paid the same flat $2 fee for every product click.

Through the combination of these 3 controls, provider compensation is never linked to manufacturers themselves, meaning brand partners are not, for example, bidding how much to pay a provider and providers gain no benefit for picking one product over another because all click payments are the same.

In other words, we pay our provider partner the same flat amount, per click, as they learn more about trusted products, irrespective of whether products are purchased.

Bottom line:

While we make sure to follow the letter of the compensation laws, we also designed the model to follow the spirit of the law, which is to make sure providers are not doing bad things for patients for extra money.

Through Frontrow, there is no benefit for a provider to educate patients on products they don’t like–providers can add literally any health product to their store, and all click payments are the same, so why add products you don’t like?

And again, we pay providers for clicks when patients learn more, meaning there’s no pressure to “sell” no obligation for the patient to buy, and no financial relationship between brands or providers.

If you want to chat more about this or anything else related to provider digital stores, schedule a free 15 min call with our team! We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Welcome to the front row of home healthcare.

Welcome to the front row of home healthcare.