In an open letter to providers, HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson pushed the agency's self-disclosure protocol as a good deal for providers in resolving possible violations of anti-kickback and physician self-referral statutes. In a three-page letter posted online, Levinson underscored his support of the process and said that since 2001, the inspector general's office had imposed corporate integrity agreements -- an often costly and onerous set of requirements -- in only 27 of the 136 self-disclosures involving monetary payments. Levinson has not come out so explicitly in favor of the process before. The inspector general's office last issued an open letter to providers on self-disclosure in 2001. Lewis Morris, chief counsel to the inspector general, said the office has recently learned of a growing number of financial arrangements between doctors and hospitals that potentially violate anti-kickback or self-referral statutes. Morris said the self-disclosure protocol is not widely known in the industry and represents significant potential savings for hospitals in resolving possible improprieties. Levinson was appointed acting inspector general by President Bush in September 2004 and confirmed by the Senate in June 2005. Read the letter. -- by Mark Taylor
HHS urges providers to consider self-disclosure
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