Archives: Other OIG Developments

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OIG Interim Evaluation of ACA LTC Employee Background Check Grant Program

The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued an interim evaluation report on an Affordable Care Act (ACA) program that provides grants to states to implement background check programs for prospective long-term care employees.  According to OIG, 25 states currently are participating in the program at different stages (for instance, some have not yet … Continue Reading

Government Reports Compile Medicaid, Dual Eligible Beneficiary Spending, Enrollment Data

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report on trends in Medicaid managed care spending, enrollment, and oversight.  Notably, the GAO reports that over 10 years (FY 2004 through 2014), federal Medicaid managed care spending grew from $27 billion to $107 billion, representing 38% of total federal Medicaid spending in 2014.  The report also … Continue Reading

HHS OIG Invites Suggestions for New Fraud Alerts, Anti-Kickback Safe Harbors

On December 23, 2015, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published its annual notice soliciting recommendations for new or modified, safe harbor provisions under the federal anti-kickback statute. The notice also invites suggestions for new OIG Special Fraud Alerts.  The OIG will accept proposals until February … Continue Reading

OIG Issues Fall 2015 Semiannual Report to Congress

The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued its Semiannual Report to Congress covering April 1 – September 30, 2015. The report summarizes significant OIG audits, investigations, and enforcement activities during this period and includes key accomplishments for the full fiscal year (FY) 2015. According to the report, the OIG expects recoveries of about … Continue Reading

OIG Examines Medicare Part B Payments for 340B Purchased Drugs

A new OIG report reviews Medicare Part B spending on drugs purchased by eligible health care providers through the 340B drug discount program.  The OIG describes the report as “an independent analysis to inform the ongoing discussion” among policymakers about the nature of 340B discounts and whether statutory changes should be made to enable Medicare … Continue Reading

OIG Policy Statement Outlines Conditions Under Which Hospitals May Waive Beneficiary Copayments for Outpatient Self-Administered Drugs

The OIG has issued a policy statement clarifying the conditions under which hospitals may discount or waive Medicare beneficiary copayment amounts for self-administered drugs (SADs) received in outpatient settings without running afoul of OIG fraud authorities. In particular, the OIG addressed questions that have arisen from a 2003 CMS statement that a hospital’s decision not … Continue Reading

HHS OIG “Reminder” about Information Blocking & the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute

The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released a “Policy Reminder” on how “information blocking” — defined by HHS as knowingly and unreasonably interfering with the exchange or use of electronic health information — may affect protection under the regulatory electronic health records (EHR) safe harbor to the federal anti-kickback statute (AKS).… Continue Reading

OIG Identifies Potentially Improper Medicare Ambulance Payments

In response to rising Medicare Part B payments for ambulance transports and continuing concerns about program vulnerabilities, the OIG has once again reviewed Medicare claims for ambulance services. The OIG estimates that Medicare made $24 million in payments during the first half of 2012 for ambulance transports that did not meet certain Medicare program requirements … Continue Reading

OIG Continues to Recommend Reduced Medicaid DME Reimbursement Rates

The HHS Office of Inspector General is once again calling for states to clamp down on Medicaid reimbursement for durable medical equipment (DME) and supplies. The OIG cites a series of earlier reports estimating that four states (California, Minnesota, New York, and Ohio) could have saved more than $18.1 million on selected DME items if … Continue Reading

OIG Again Calls for Reforms to Medicare SNF Reimbursement Policy

The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) continues to question the appropriateness of payments to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) under the Medicare SNF prospective payment system (PPS). Based on Medicare Part A SNF claims data and cost reports over the last decade and beneficiary assessments for fiscal years (FYs) 2011 to 2013, the OIG concluded … Continue Reading

OIG Calls for Stronger HIPAA Compliance Efforts

The OIG has issued two reports calling for stronger ONC oversight of covered entity compliance with HIPAA standards. In the first report, “OCR Should Strengthen Its Oversight of Covered Entities’ Compliance with the HIPAA Privacy Standards,” the OIG observes that OCR’s Privacy Rule compliance oversight is primarily reactive based on complaints since it has not … Continue Reading

OIG Flags $171 Million in Potentially Questionable Billing for Medicare Ophthalmology Services

The OIG has issued a report entitled “Questionable Billing for Medicare Ophthalmology Services.”  The OIG concludes that most Medicare providers billing for ophthalmology services in 2012 did not demonstrate what the OIG characterizes as questionable billing practices, such as a high percentage of claims for complex cataract surgery or Lucentis injections beyond maximum annual dosing … Continue Reading

OIG Reviews Overlap Between Physician-Owned Hospitals and Physician-Owned Distributors (PODs) of Spinal Devices

 The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a report on “Overlap Between Physician-Owned Hospitals and Physician-Owned Distributors.”  The OIG reviewed 12 hospitals that self-identified as physician-owned and previously reported having purchased spinal devices from PODs.  The OIG attempted to determine whether physicians had an ownership interest … Continue Reading

OIG Recommends Improvements to SNF Billing for Changes in Therapy

In FYs 2011 and 2012, CMS adopted new patient assessments for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) that were intended to capture when beneficiaries start therapy, end therapy, and decrease or increase therapy. The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) has questioned the effectiveness of these complex policies, however, noting that SNFs reviewed often used the start … Continue Reading

Terminated Medicaid Providers Continue to Participate in Other State Medicaid Programs

According to the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), 12% of providers terminated for cause by a state Medicaid program in 2011 continued participating in other states’ Medicaid programs as of January 2014, despite an Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that states terminate any provider terminated for cause by another state Medicaid program.  The OIG acknowledges … Continue Reading

Obama Administration Announces Record Medicare Strike Force “Takedown”

On June 18, 2015, HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell and Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced that a nationwide Medicare Fraud Strike Force sweep resulted in health fraud charges against 243 individuals involving approximately $712 million in false billings – the largest number of defendants and dollar amount in Strike Force history. Charges in the cases … Continue Reading

OIG Report Assesses Accuracy of CMS Financial Assistance Payments to ACA QHP Issuers

According to a recent OIG report, CMS’s internal controls did not effectively ensure the accuracy of almost $2.8 billion in advance cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments made to ACA qualified health plan (QHP) issuers during the period of January through April 2014. As a result, the OIG recommended that CMS take a series of steps to … Continue Reading

An Apple a Day Keeps the OIG Away: Practical Guidelines for Structuring Physician Compensation Arrangements to Avoid Kickback Allegations

On June 9, 2015, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) released a fraud alert warning physicians to scrutinize carefully the conditions and terms of any medical director or other compensation arrangement they enter into with potential recipients of Federal health care program business. The risks associated with … Continue Reading

OIG Posts Spring Semiannual Report to Congress

The OIG’s latest Semiannual Report to Congress describes significant investigative and enforcement activities relating to HHS programs and operations during the first half of FY 2015 (October 1, 2014 – March 31, 2015). The OIG reports expected recoveries of more than $1.8 billion during this period, consisting of nearly $544.7 million in audit receivables and about $1.26 … Continue Reading

OIG Releases FY 2015 Work Plan Mid-Year Update

The HHS OIG has updated its FY 2015 Work Plan to reflect new and/or completed items since release of its Work Plan in October 2014. Of note, the OIG has announced its plans to conduct several new Medicare reviews addressing: intensity-modulated radiation therapy; hospital preparedness and response to high-risk infectious diseases; access to DME in competitive … Continue Reading

OIG Examines Medicaid/Part D Drug Rebate Policy

The OIG has issued a report, Medicaid Rebates for Brand-Name Drugs Exceeded Part D Rebates by a Substantial Margin,” comparing statutory Medicaid rebate amounts for brand name drugs with rebates Part D plan sponsors negotiate with drug manufacturers for such drugs. Based on 2012 data, the OIG determined that total rebates under Medicaid were substantially higher … Continue Reading

OIG Flags Overpayments Due to Incorrect Physician Place-of-Service Coding

According to a recent OIG report, "Incorrect Place-of-Service Coding Resulted in Potential Medicare Overpayments Costing Millions,” physicians did not always correctly code the place of service on Part B claims.  This resulted in potential overpayments of approximately $33.4 million for services provided from January 2010 through September 2012. The OIG explains that physicians performed these services … Continue Reading

OIG Reviews HHA Background Check Policies

In response to a Congressional request, the OIG has reviewed the extent to which home health agencies (HHAs) have employed individuals with criminal convictions and whether state requirements should have disqualified such individuals from HHA employment. The OIG points out that there are no federal requirements that HHAs conduct background checks on employees, and state requirements … Continue Reading
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