I often hear this response from healthcare providers under investigation. And it may be true that other providers are doing the same thing you have been accused of wrongfully doing. But the simple fact that “others are doing it” does not mean that it is appropriate or legal. It also does not mean that your actions will be excused.
Regardless of what other healthcare providers may be doing, you are still bound by the laws, rules, and regulations that govern your practice. And as with so many things in healthcare and law, there are plenty of gray areas. I have heard the refrain “but others are doing it” across numerous areas, ranging from fee-splitting to record-keeping to care and treatment. In my experience, claiming that other providers have engaged in the same allegedly wrongful acts you have is not usually helpful to your case.
For example, you cannot assume that your fee-splitting arrangement complies with federal or state law just because every therapy practice or doctor you know has a fee-splitting arrangement where the employer and employee divide client/patient fees brought in by the employee. Likewise, pointing to another provider who has had more bad outcomes, investigations, or “worse” claims is also not usually helpful. As a colleague explains, it is like arguing to a police officer that you should not have been stopped for speeding because there are plenty of other speeders around. While tempting, it is not usually a helpful argument. So even if everyone else is doing it, that does not make it legal or appropriate. Each provider is still required to follow the applicable laws and regulations governing his/her practice.