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HHS Seeks New Ideas for Safe Harbors From Kickbacks Law

Posted in Accountable Care Organizations, Affordable Care Act, Fraud and Abuse, Hospitals and Institutions, Legislation and Public Policy, Medicare and Medicaid, Reimbursement Matters

A December 27 article in Bloomberg BNA’s Health Care Daily Report and other publications, “HHS Seeks New Ideas for Safe Harbors From Kickbacks Law,” discussed the recent request by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General for public input on new ideas for safe harbors from the federal anti-kickback statute. Day Pitney’s Eric Fader was quoted in the article.The request likely foreshadows a relaxing of restrictions on healthcare providers and “suggests that the government recognizes that the [healthcare] system remains unstable and in flux,” Eric said. The OIG’s request is expected to trigger a push in 2018 to protect value-based payment models and care coordination among providers from penalties.

“As long as the federal anti-kickback statute is on the books preventing party A from compensating party B for services, it’s going to be hard for two different… independent practitioners to coordinate in providing that care,” Eric said, “so I think we will continue to see the potential for softening up some of the anti-kickback statute prohibitions which could take the form of expansion of the existing safe harbors.”

Eric concluded, “With the battle over the [Affordable Care Act] resolved, now let’s really focus on what we need to do to make the system more healthy overall.”

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