Jennifer Michael Shares Insights on OIG’s RFI to Modernize Guidance

October 22, 2021
AHLA's Speaking of Health Law Podcast

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Jennifer Michael shared her insights on the American Health Law Association’s (AHLA) Speaking of Health Law podcast about the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG’s) September 24 Request for Information (RFI) on how to improve its guidance and “modernize the accessibility and usability of our publicly available resources.” On the podcast, Jennifer and Samantha Flanzer from OIG discussed what is prompting OIG’s modernization drive and what to expect from OIG during the process.

As Jennifer stated, the goal to modernize is “something that has been percolating at OIG for a while. All of the guidance on OIG’s website is good guidance. But many of the resources haven’t been updated in decades. There’s been a very big push towards using data and I think they’ve done a great job on the enforcement side and using data to, for example target outliers. But now they want to try to use that data on the compliance side and make it available for people to use in their compliance programs. Advancements in technology – data at your fingertips is a term they say a lot – I think that is what is driving this push.”

Speaking of what to expect from OIG’s RFI process, Jennifer speculated that “I think we’ll see layers. The agency recognizes that practitioners and private practice really did like the FAQ and I think that’s something perhaps that they could move along more quickly. Whereas some of the questions they posed about the advisory opinion process and potential changes to that process would require notice and comment rulemaking. That obviously is an extended process.”

When asked about client reactions to the RFI, Jennifer replied “I think the most interesting areas are with respect to advisory opinions, the proposed changes there. And I think clients will be very receptive to the proposed changes to the LEIE … and that could potentially save clients time and or money.”

The full podcast, “Fraud and Abuse: A Look at OIG’s Push for Modernized Guidance,” was released on October 19 as part of the AHLA’s Speaking of Health Law podcast series. It is available online or wherever you get your podcast content. You can read more about the RFI in the post on our Inside the FCA blog from September 24.