On April 3, 2020 the Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a Policy Statement to notify health care providers and other parties subject to the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) that the OIG will not impose administrative sanctions for potential AKS violations for COVID-19-related arrangements that are covered by some of the Blanket Waivers of the Physician Self-Referral (Stark) Law issued on March 30.
The OIG has decided to exercise its enforcement discretion to enable the health care industry to focus on delivering needed patient care during the COVID-19 emergency. The OIG will not pursue sanctions for certain financial arrangements that implicate the Physician Self-Referral Law and might otherwise implicate the AKS, if such arrangements are covered by one of the first 11 Blanket Waivers described by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Section II.B HERE
OIG’s Policy Statement
The OIG’s Policy Statement applies to certain types of remuneration between hospitals and physicians, including below-FMV rental charges for lease of space or equipment, or nonmonetary compensation or incidental medical staff benefits in excess of regulatory limits, but does not apply to all of the types of remuneration covered by the Blanket Waivers. For instance, a hospital may provide free use of medical office space on its campus to allow physicians to provide timely and convenient services to patients who come to the hospital but do not need inpatient care. The OIG is encouraging parties to email the OIG with questions about the potential applicability of administrative sanctions to ‘other’ types of remuneration covered by the Blanket Waivers but not the Policy Statement.
OIG’s Policy Statement applies to conduct occurring on or after April 3, 2020, whereas the Blanket Waivers of the Physician Self-Referral Law were retroactive to March 1, 2020. The OIG Policy Statement and Blanket Waiver will terminate on the same date. However, OIG reserved the right to reconsider the Policy Statement, and terminate or modify it, at any time.