The American Hospital Association is looking for some extra credit.
It wants government enforcers to formally establish a system that would give hospitals with compliance programs credit for making voluntary disclosures of overbillings to government healthcare programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare.
The credit for having a compliance program and compliance officer could lessen a hospital's fine or be a factor in how the overbilling is handled, either administratively or in court, said Joseph DiGenova, a well-known Washington-based attorney who has been on retainer as the AHA's outside counsel.
DiGenova said the consideration now given to hospitals for having compliance programs can be vague and subjective.
DiGenova said he plans to meet soon with Eric Holder Jr., a deputy U.S. attorney general, to talk about setting up a credit system.
"We want to start a dialogue on this," DiGenova said.
DiGenova said AHA President Richard Davidson has already met with June Gibbs Brown, HHS' inspector general, on the issue.
"We are working with AHA on this issue," said Alwyn Cassil, a spokeswoman for the inspector general's office.