On March 22, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) updated its Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”), drafting 13 FAQs aimed at easing the transition from COVID-era flexibilities to the end of the Public Health Emergency (“PHE”) on May 11, 2023. These FAQs arrive on the tail of OIG’s March 10, 2023 COVID-19 Public Health Emergency policy statement, which announced that the expiration of the PHE in May also marks the end of flexibilities extended during the crisis. The updated FAQs offer a glimpse into how OIG investigations and enforcement might play out after the end of the PHE. These FAQs address subjects including “General Questions Regarding Certain Fraud and Abuse Authorities,” the “Application of Certain Fraud and Abuse Authorities to Certain Types of Arrangements,” and “Compliance Considerations.”
The vast majority of the principles articulated in the updated FAQs will undoubtedly be familiar to many. Generally speaking, the updated FAQs restate or clarify longstanding OIG policy. The updated FAQs are more than reiteration, however; they offer condensed policy and explanation in a single location, and demonstrate that for the most part, investigations and enforcement may return to the pre-PHE status quo.
It has been four years since Congress enacted the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (“EKRA”), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 220. EKRA initially targeted patient brokering and kickback schemes within the addiction treatment and recovery spaces. However, since EKRA was expansively drafted to also apply to clinical laboratories (it applies to improper referrals for any “service”, regardless of the payor), public as well as private insurance plans and even self-pay patients fall within the reach of the statute.
In this episode of the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") and the Office of Inspector General ("OIG") of the Department of Health and Human Services have at last published their long-awaited companion final rules advancing value-based care. The rules present significant changes to the regulatory framework of the federal physician self-referral law (commonly referred to as the “Stark Law”) and to the federal health care program’s Anti-Kickback Statute, or “AKS.”
Epstein Becker Green attorneys Anjali ...
The Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) for the Department of Health and Human Services recently issued an Advisory Opinion that provides insight into how the agency evaluates arrangements that deal with the integration of technology, medicine, and patient monitoring under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”). In Advisory Opinion No. 19-02, OIG evaluated whether a pharmaceutical manufacturer could temporarily loan a limited-functionality smartphone to financially needy patients enrolled in federal health care programs. OIG concluded that the proposed ...
Clinical laboratories need to review how they compensate sales personnel following the passage of the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act of 2018 (“EKRA”) (Section 8122 of the SUPPORT Act) which is effective as of October 24, 2018. The SUPPORT Act is a combination of more than 70 bills aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic, with EKRA intended to address patient brokering in exchange for kickbacks of individuals with substance abuse disorders. However, as written, EKRA is far more expansive.
EKRA adds an all payor (public and private) anti-kickback rule to the health care fraud ...
Recent settlement agreements between the United States Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) and two urologist business partners suggests that the government may be focusing increased enforcement efforts on the Stark Law’s “group practice” requirements and the Stark exception for “in-office ancillary services.” The urologists agreed to pay over $1 million to resolve the allegations.
In early January 2018, the DOJ entered into settlement agreements with Dr. Aytac Apaydin and Stephen Worsham to resolve allegations that the physicians submitted improper claims to ...
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