The American Hospital Association is seeking guidance from the Internal Revenue Service on donating information technology and support services to physicians. New federal regulations that took effect Oct. 10 are meant to give hospitals and manufacturers more freedom to make such donations without fear of violating self-referral and antikickback laws. But some not-for-profit hospitals worry such donations may jeopardize their tax-exempt status because of an IRS regulation that requires donations from tax-exempt hospitals to primarily serve a public benefit. AHA regulatory counsel Lawrence Hughes said transactions that comply with the self-referral and antikickback exceptions ought to pass muster with the IRS, but IRS guidance would remove any doubt. All were asking is for them to affirm in a public way that those types of arrangements are permissible, Hughes said. The IRS previously has said that it understands the importance of IT in healthcare and was studying the issue. -- by Matthew DoBias
IRS asked to comment on IT rules
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