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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Medicare Compliance for Clinical Laboratories. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Case Study 3

A laboratory-contracted courier is making a routine stop in a client's office and is approached by the office manager with whom he is very friendly because he has been going to this office for years. The office manager asks the courier if Dr. John Smith is a regular stop on his route and the courier answers yes. She then asks the courier if he would do her a little favor since he stops at Dr Smith's office regularly anyway and drop off an x-ray for her so she won't have to call another courier service. The courier knows that this is a big account for the laboratory and customer service is a high priority for the laboratory. How should the courier respond?
Correct Answer: The courier should refuse to do it for the customer and explain to the customer that the laboratory has a policy that says he must only provide courier services related to that laboratory.
Discussion: Even though this is a single incident, by doing this favor the courier is giving the office manager license to ask these kinds of favors in the future. Since the provision of this free courier service is a form of inducement or kickback to the client, both the client and the laboratory would be involved if such a practice were to go on regularly and be discovered by the government or by the laboratory. This could lead to serious disciplinary action up to termination.