Opinion of Chris Kelly, PWW | Comments Courtesy of Matt Zavadsky
Special thanks to Chris Kelly of PWW for sharing this OIG Advisory Opinion regarding an MIH program.
This opinion is very interesting and worth reading – a couple of the most interesting statements include:
“Under the Arrangements, Requestor provides the Services to qualifying patients, some of whom may be Federal health care program beneficiaries. The Services provide a significant benefit to patients in the form of free health care services and care management furnished in their home. While not dispositive, the fact that a Medicaid program in the Health System’s service area reimburses for similar community-paramedic services also indicates their value. For these reasons, we believe the Services constitute remuneration from Requestor to patients participating in the Arrangements.”
“…although the remuneration provided under the Arrangements implicates the Beneficiary Inducement CMP because it could influence a patient to select Requestor or the Clinic for federally reimbursable items or services, we believe that the Arrangements’ benefits outweigh any risk of inappropriate patient steering that the statute was designed to prevent.”
“Finally, the scope and duration of the Services provided by the community paramedics appear reasonably tailored to accomplish Requestor’s goals of increasing patient compliance with discharge plans, improving patient health, and reducing hospital inpatient admissions and readmissions. It is reasonable to assume these patient populations—who Requestor certified are at higher risk of hospital inpatient admission or readmission—will benefit from the continuity of care offered by the Arrangements. For instance, the Arrangements make available a health care professional who can assist patients with following the discharge plan or treatment plan developed by Requestor or the Clinic, as applicable. In addition, the community paramedics can keep patients’ providers apprised of patients’ health by documenting all activities and interventions in their electronic medical records between discharge and a follow-up appointment. Access to free care also may foster patient safety and improve quality of care by preventing or detecting health care issues after discharge or after a treatment plan has been developed.”
“Based on the facts certified in your request for an advisory opinion and supplemental submissions, we conclude that, although the Current Arrangement and the Proposed Arrangement could potentially generate prohibited remuneration under the anti-kickback statute if the requisite intent to induce or reward referrals of Federal health care program business were present, the OIG will not, and would not, respectively, impose administrative sanctions on [name redacted] under sections 1128(b)(7) or 1128A(a)(7) of the Act (as those sections relate to the commission of acts described in section 1128B(b) of the Act) in connection with the Current Arrangement or the Proposed Arrangement. In addition, the OIG will not, and would not, respectively, impose administrative sanctions on [name redacted] under section 1128A(a)(5) of the Act in connection with the Current Arrangement or the Proposed Arrangement.”