The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services was recently asked to assess whether a business arrangement between a clinical laboratory, an electronic health record vendor (EHR) and referring physicians violates the federal anti-kickback statute.
Some of you may be thinking “Wait, I thought laboratories could no longer provide kickbacks with EHRs as of January 1, 2014.”
That is correct insomuch as labs can no longer donate an EHR to referring physicians, clinics, etc. But the question before the OIG was whether a laboratory can legally pay EHR fees that would normally be incurred by referring physicians.
And just as with an earlier OIG Advisory Opinion, Mr. Dilworth readily agreed to help and put together a very nice summary, which is below.
Many thanks to Mr. Dilworth for taking the time to do this.
On April 8, 2014, the OIG posted Advisory Opinion 14-03 which should be of interest to any pathology lab receiving test orders and transmitting test results via electronic interfaces with clients. EHR and interface vendors should also be interested.
Here, the OIG found that the payment arrangement for an interface involved “potentially problematic financial incentives” presenting “more than a minimal risk” of fraud and abuse under the Federal anti-kickback statute (AKS). Readers should note that the AKS is a federal criminal statute that subjects both parties involved to potential hefty fines, imprisonment and exclusion from Medicare and Medicaid.