Tag Archives: OIG

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

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 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

OIG Early Alert on State-Based ACA Marketplace Funding Use

The OIG has issued an “Early Alert” warning regarding the use of federal funding by state-based marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The OIG notes that the ACA clearly prohibits marketplaces from using grant funds to support ongoing operations after January 1, 2015. The OIG expresses its “concerns that, without more detailed guidance from … Continue Reading

OIG Partners with Industry Associations by Issuing Practical Guidance for Health Care Governing Boards on Compliance Oversight

On April 20, 2015, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (“OIG”) released educational guidance designed to assist governing boards of health care organizations (“Boards”) in their compliance oversight functions. This guidance, entitled “Practical Guidance for Health Care Governing Boards on Compliance Oversight” (the “Guidance”), was developed in … Continue Reading

OIG Releases Medicaid Fraud Control Units Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report

The OIG has released its Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCU) Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Report, which highlights statistical achievements of the 50 MFCUs nationwide, along with related OIG oversight activities. With regard to criminal cases, the report notes: MFCUs reported 1,318 criminal convictions, most frequently involving home health care aides, certified nursing aides, and other medical support; … Continue Reading

Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control (HCFAC) Program Reports $3.3 Billion in Recoveries

According to the FY 2014 HCFAC program report, more than $3.3 billion was recovered in FY 2014 as a result of the government’s health care fraud judgments and settlements, including $2.3 billion won or negotiated by the federal government in FY 2014. Since the HCFAC program began in 1997, it has returned more than $27.8 … Continue Reading

OIG Issues 2015 Compendium of Unimplemented Recommendations

The OIG has released its March 2015 “Compendium of Unimplemented Recommendations,” which highlights the OIG’s top 25 recommendations for cost savings and/or quality improvements in HHS programs, along with other significant unimplemented recommendations. High-priority recommendations address the following areas, among others: Payment Policies and Practices: Expand the DRG window to include additional days prior to the inpatient … Continue Reading

OIG Posts FY 2014 State Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) Data

The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released detailed statistical data on MFCU enforcement actions, recoveries, and expenditures for fiscal year 2014. Overall, state MFCUs reported more than $2 billion in criminal and civil recoveries (settlements, judgments, or prefiling settlements) in FY 2014, more than $1.7 billion of which were civil recoveries. The states … Continue Reading

OIG Reviews Medicare Reimbursement for Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Swing-Bed Services

A recent OIG report examines increasing use of CAH “swing-bed” services, which the OIG describes as being equivalent to services performed at a SNF, but which are reimbursed at 101% of a CAH’s reasonable cost rather than at the Medicare SNF PPS rate. The OIG estimates that Medicare could have saved $4.1 billion over six … Continue Reading