December 21, 2023

I have always found the OIG’s past “Compliance Guidance” to be vague and not particularly helpful.  Is there anything more recent that will provide an analytical framework to comply with the Anti-kickback statute?

The Anti-kickback statute is an intent-based statute.  So, the OIG can be forgiven to a certain extent for their “it depends” guidance on compliance with this law.  However, given the fact the Anti‑kickback statute is a criminal statute and that federal health care program claims resulting from a violation of this law will also constitute a violation of the False Claims Act, even the OIG has realized that more definitive guidance is required.

The OIG seems to have heard your plea for help, and has provided the following analytical framework for compliance with the Anti-kickback statute on Pages 12-14 of the November 6, 2023, OIG General Compliance Program Guidance (“GCPG”).

When attempting to identify problematic arrangements under the federal Anti-kickback statute, some relevant inquiries to explore and consider can include the following.  This list of questions is illustrative, not exhaustive, and the answers to these questions alone are not determinative as to whether an arrangement violates the federal Anti-kickback statute.

Key Questions:

(1)        Nature of the relationship between the parties –

        • What degree of influence do the parties have, directly or indirectly, on the generation of federal health care program business for each other?

(2)        Manner in which participants were selected –

        • Were parties selected to participate in an arrangement in whole or in part because of their past or anticipated referrals?

(3)        Manner in which the remuneration is determined –

        • Does the remuneration take into account, either directly or indirectly, the volume or value of business generated?
        • Is the remuneration conditioned in whole or in part on referrals or other business generated between the parties? Is the arrangement itself conditioned, either directly or indirectly, on the volume or value of federal health care program business?  Is there any service provided other than referrals?

(4)        Value of the remuneration.

        • Is the remuneration fair market value in an arm’s-length transaction for legitimate, reasonable, and necessary services that are actually rendered?
        • Is the entity paying an inflated rate to a potential referral source? Is the entity receiving free or below-market-rate items or services from a provider, supplier, or other entity involved in health care business?
        • Is compensation tied, either directly or indirectly, to federal health care program reimbursement?
        • Is the determination of fair market value based upon a reasonable methodology that is uniformly applied and properly documented?

(5)        Nature of items or services provided.

        • Are the items and services actually needed and rendered, commercially reasonable, and necessary to achieve a legitimate business purpose?

(6)        Federal program impact.

        • Does the remuneration have the potential to affect costs to any of the federal health care programs or their beneficiaries?
        • Could the remuneration lead to overutilization or inappropriate utilization?

(7)        Clinical decision making.

        • Does the arrangement or practice have the potential to interfere with, or skew, clinical decision making?
        • Does the arrangement or practice raise patient safety or quality of care concerns?
        • Could the payment structure lead to cherry-picking healthy patients or lemon-dropping patients with chronic or other potentially costly conditions to save on costs?

(8)        Steering.

        • Does the arrangement or practice raise concerns related to steering patients or health care entities to a particular item or service, or steering to a particular health care entity to provide, supply, or furnish items or services?

(9)        Potential conflicts of interest.

        • Would acceptance of the remuneration diminish, or appear to diminish, the objectivity of professional judgment?
        • If the remuneration relates to the dissemination of information, is the information complete, accurate, and not misleading?

(10)      Manner in which the arrangement is documented.

        • Is the arrangement properly and fully documented in writing?
        • Are the parties documenting the items and services they provide? Are the entities monitoring items and services provided?
        • Are arrangements actually conducted according to the terms of the written agreements (when written to comply with the law)?

Is this perfect guidance – No.  But it is a significant improvement over any compliance guidance that the OIG has provided in the past.  In fact, we find the OIG’s New General Compliance Guidance to provide an excellent framework for compliance with the Anti-kickback statute, and a number of other federal laws that affect health care providers.

If you have a quick question about this, e-mail Henry Casale at

For an in-depth discussion of the OIG’s November 6, 2023, OIG General Compliance Program Guidance, please check out the Horty Springer Health Law Expressions Podcast  “New OIG General Compliance Program Guidance by Dan Mulholland and Henry Casale.”


May 18, 2023

What is a Medicare NCD and why would an NCD be relevant to the delineation of hospital clinical privileges for certain procedures?

A National Coverage Determination (“NCD”) is a general outline of coverage which is applicable regardless of which Medicare Administrative Contractor (“MAC”) is administering Medicare claims for a particular region.  According to CMS, NCDs are made through an evidence-based process and in some cases are supplemented by outside assistance in order to establish nationwide Medicare payment conditions for the treatment or procedure subject to the NCD.

Medicare does not have the authority to dictate the practice of medicine.  However, the Medicare program does have the authority to define what it will pay for, and under what conditions.  That is where the NCDs (as well as LCDs which are Local Coverage Determinations and are specific to a particular MAC) become relevant to clinical privilege delineations.

For example, the NCD for Percutaneous Left Atrial Appendage Closure (“LAAC”) describes the conditions under which Medicare will pay for LAAC technical and professional services.  Among the requirements of the current NCD, the LAAC must be performed by an interventional cardiologist, electrophysiologist, or cardiovascular surgeon who satisfies the following criteria:

(1)        Has received training prescribed by the manufacturer on the safe and effective use of the device prior to performing LAAC; and

(2)        Has performed ≥ 25 interventional cardiac procedures that involve transeptal puncture through an intact septum; and

(3)        Continues to perform ≥ 25 interventional cardiac procedures that involve transeptal puncture through an intact septum, of which at least 12 are LAAC, over a 2-year period.

What happens if you do not use the NCD in your delineation of clinical privileges for an LAAC?  That is not unlawful.  But neither the Hospital’s nor the physician’s claim will be reimbursed by Medicare if the physician who performs the LAAC does not at least satisfy the requirements in the NCD (or any other procedure where an NCD or LCD specifies certain training and/or experience).

If a claim has been submitted for such a procedure by a physician who did not satisfy the NCD or LCD’s criteria, then both the technical and the professional fees paid by the Medicare program for that procedure must be refunded.  Submitting a claim to Medicare in reckless disregard or in deliberate ignorance of Medicare’s conditions of payment constitutes a False Claim.  Keeping the reimbursement for a claim that should not have been submitted to Medicare because it did not satisfy the requirements of an NCD or LCD constitutes a “reverse false claim.”   The penalty for a violation of the False Claims Act is three times the amount of the claim plus a possible per claim penalty of between $13,508-$27,018.

Therefore, a prudent hospital will be aware of Medicare’s conditions of payment, where they exist, and will make their delineation of clinical privileges for an LAAC, or any other procedure where physician qualifications are defined in an NCD or LCD, so that at a minimum, the clinical privileges needed to perform that procedure in the hospital meet or exceed the requirements in any relevant NCD or LCD.

If you have a quick question about this, e-mail Henry Casale at

If you want to learn more about the False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute, the Stark law, amendments to the regulations of those laws, and much more, consider joining Dan Mulholland and Henry Casale in Phoenix November 16-18, 2023, for our next seminar.  

In the interim, be sure to check out “The Kickback Chronicles” on the Health Law Expressions Podcast featuring Hala Mouzaffar and Henry Casale, so you can learn from the misfortune of others.