On January 25, 2007, the OIG released the first Advisory Opinion for 2007, which addresses a non-profit hospital's proposal to provide free dialysis services to chronic dialysis patients unable to obtain dialysis in their community which violates the civil money penalty for inducements to beneficiaries and/or the anti-kickback statute.

In sum, the OIG concluded that the risk for abuse in this situation was limited and that it would not impose penalties. Specifically, the OIG concluded that it did not believe that the civil money penalty was implicated because they thought it unlikely that the provision of these dialysis services to this patient population would induce the patients to receive items or services otherwise covered by Medicare or other federal health care programs. With respect to the anti-kickback statute, the OIG identified a number of arguments why it would not impose penalties (e.g., the provision of care is within its mission of serving the underserved segments of the community, no federal health care programs would be billed for any of these services.

For a copy of the OIG Advisory Opinion click here

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