Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Jennifer Michael offered insight on a recently released advisory opinion from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allowing free nurse practitioner services in place of some traditional physician services in a hospital setting. The advisory opinion addresses whether there is potential for fraud under the Anti-Kickback Statute under the arrangement.

As Jennifer points out, the opinion is “a departure from how OIG typically treats arrangements involving remuneration between hospitals and referring physicians.” While OIG typically shies away on approving a hospital from giving away free services, Jennifer believes “the outcome is not terribly surprising given OIG’s push to value-based care. It seems clear from the facts of this arrangement it will improve care.”

Jennifer added “OIG concluded that the provision of these services is remuneration to physicians. That can get complicated not only from an Anti-Kickback Statute perspective but also from a Stark Law perspective.”

The full article, “OIG OKs Use of Hospital-Employed NP Services Free to Help Doctors,” was published by the Health Care Compliance Association’s Report on Medicare Compliance Volume 32, Number 2 dated January 16, 2023, and is available online. Jennifer co-authored a firm publication on Advisory Opinion 22-20 that can be read here.