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Showing 28 posts in Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG).

Up, Up and Away: Penalties and CMPs to be Adjusted for Inflation

Posted In False Claims Act, Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG), Uncategorized

As part of the recent bipartisan budget deal, the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvements Act of 2015 (the “Improvements Act”) requires that all federal agencies make inflation-based adjustments to all civil monetary penalties (CMPs) within their jurisdictions beginning no later than August 1, 2016. In the health care context, the legislation means that the penalties available to the government under the Civil Monetary Penalties Law (CMPL), as well as the False Claims Act (FCA), must be adjusted for inflation and increased. More >

Tidbits and Takeaways from OIG’s 2016 Work Plan

Posted In "Two Midnights Rule", 340B Program, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), Hospice, Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG), Skilled Nursing Facilities (“SNFs”)

The Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services (“OIG”) recently issued its 2016 Work Plan, which sets the agenda for its auditing and investigation in the year ahead. The broad mandate of the OIG is to eliminate fraud, waste and abuse. With the requested FY 2016 budget of $417 million, the OIG will continue its fraud-fighting efforts and heighten it focus on reducing waste in HHS programs. Waste includes not only fraud, but also unnecessary services, inefficient delivery of care or service, poor quality of care or services, inflated prices, excess administrative costs, or mismanagement of grant or contract funds. With a 2015 track record of $3 billion in recoveries; 4,112 provider exclusions from participation in federal health care programs; 925 criminal actions and 682 civil and administrative enforcement actions and a return on investment of $8 for every $1 spent, the OIG is a force to be avoided. The yearly work plan provides a list of priorities for the office, and in turn gives providers insight into areas of concern in practice. The following areas are on OIG’s radar for the coming year: More >

OIG Alert Shows Increased Concern over Data Blocking

Posted In Anti-Kickback Statute, EHR Systems, Electronic Health Records (“EHR"), Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG)

In a report to Congress last April, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Technology addressed the growing issue of data blocking. Data blocking occurs when some person or entity knowingly and unreasonably interferes with the exchange or use of electronic health information (“EHI”), and this happens due to business incentives that cause those persons or entities to want to control and limit availability to that information. For instance, if one ACO has the capability to send EHI of a patient safely and securely to another ACO treating that patient through a certified health IT system, but instead faxes that patient’s information, it has engaged in data blocking. It has made it more difficult, inefficient and expensive for the rival ACO to treat that patient. In essence, data blocking prevents the exact purpose of the HITECH Act and provisions of the Affordable Care Act which were designed to increase interoperability of electronic health information systems and facilitate the exchange of information. These broad concerns over data blocking found footing in a recent Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) Alert stressing that data blocking can run afoul of the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute. More >

OIG Targets Questionable Billing Practices for Ambulance Services

Posted In False Claims Act, Fraud, Health Care Fraud, Medicare, Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG)

The Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) pulled no punches in a recent report on Medicare Part B billing for ambulance transports. The September release presented a case for increased scrutiny, pointing out that Medicare has historically been vulnerable to fraud where ambulance transports are concerned. For instance, a 2006 OIG report determined that 25% of billed ambulance transports did not meet Medicare requirements in Calendar Year 2002. That year, Medicare paid almost $3 billion for ambulance services, and improper payments accounted for an estimated $402 million of that total. As 2012 saw Medicare pay $5.8 billion for ambulance services, the OIG took an even closer look at this category of claims. More >

Structuring Healthcare Provider Agreements for Compliance

Posted In Anti-Kickback Statute, Health Care Fraud, Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG), Stark Laws

On June 23rd, the Healthcare Law Blog discussed the Fraud Alert recently issued by the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services regarding physician compensation arrangements which telegraphed the Office of Inspector General’s intention to increase scrutiny of financial arrangements between physicians and providers to whom physicians make referrals. In today’s post, we examine the steps physicians and other healthcare providers should take to ensure that any financial relationships are in compliance with federal statutes and regulations. More >

OIG Fraud Alert Targets Physician Compensation Arrangements

Posted In Anti-Kickback Statute, Fraud, Health Care Fraud, Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG), Stark Laws

It bears repeating so much that even the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services just issued a Fraud Alert on it – physician compensation arrangements are fraught with potential violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) as well as the Stark Statute and regulations. The AKS is a large enough trap that it catches even the most above-board agreements in its net, and physicians should be wary of the implications. Likewise, the Stark Statute and regulations are broad and are strict liability laws: if you do not meet a Stark exception, the referral and the resulting claim are tainted and the money received based upon the tainted claim must be repaid to the government. More >

Kentucky to Establish Hospital-to-Home Transition Care

Posted In Kentucky’s Department for Medicaid Services, Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG)

One of the last-minute laws passed by Kentucky’s General Assembly and signed by Governor Beshear was a statute that authorizes Medicaid reimbursement for “Hospital-to-Home Transition Care,” which becomes effective on June 24, 2015. More >

OIG Guidance for Healthcare Boards

Posted In Compliance, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG)

In April, the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“OIG”), in conjunction with the American Health Lawyers Association, the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors, and the Health Care Compliance Association, released “Practical Guidance for Health Care Governing Boards on Compliance Oversight.” Rather than merely discussing aspirational goals or stating governing principles, the guide lives up to its name in giving practical suggestions for how health care governing boards oversee compliance programs, a true product of a partnership between the OIG and associations that represent those regulated by the office. The document stressed new compliance challenges for healthcare governing boards, such as value-based payment systems and the effect of ever-expanding publicly available data (under the Sunshine Rule, for instance). The guidance covered specific topic areas of concern, each of which will be discussed briefly. More >

HHS OIG RELEASES FISCAL YEAR 2015 WORK PLAN

Posted In Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), Health Care Law, Medicaid, Medicare, Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG)

Recently, the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (“OIG”) released its Fiscal Year 2015 Work Plan summarizing its oversight and enforcement priorities for the 2015 Fiscal Year. Here are some highlights from the Work Plan. More >

Changes Proposed for Anti-Kickback Statute

Posted In Anti-Kickback Statute, Health Care Law, Medicare, Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (OIG)

It has been said before—healthcare is changing. Most often providers must adapt their practices to comply with governing regulations. Sometimes, governing regulations must be revised to adapt to providers practices. And on occasion, governing regulations must be revised to be consistent with other governing regulations. This is one of those occasions. More >

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