Hospitals are being accused of violating federal laws that are in place to keep financial considerations from influencing doctors decisions based on a report from Kaiser Health News and The Daily Beast.

Why this matters: A number of current lawsuits allege that hospitals are overpaying doctors or offering incentives like free office space in exchange for extra revenue doctors create through referrals.

Details: It’s illegal for doctors to refer patients for services that the doctor has a financial interest in, and for hospitals to pay doctors for referrals.

These measures are supposed to help keep costs down by discouraging doctors from using excessive, unnecessary health care.

The lawsuits are raising the question of whether financial arrangements like high doctor salaries count as illegal kickbacks.