HHS inspector generals office said in an advisory opinion posted April 3 that the use of rewards from credit card issuers for the benefit of a residential healthcare facility and its employees would not violate anti-kickback statutes. As a result the inspector generals office said it would not impose administrative sanctions on the unnamed facility.
The requestor of the opinion is a licensed nursing home that proposes to use credit cards issued in its name to purchase goods and services for the facility. The nursing home noted that it may seek reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid for the costs associated with goods and services purchased with the credit cards, which provide rewards such as airline mileage, cash rebates and points toward purchases of specified items.
The nursing home said it intended to use the rewards for its own benefit by purchasing additional goods and services for the nursing home or by giving the rewards to employees as part of performance-based compensation. In issuing the opinion, the inspector generals office noted that it relied on the facilitys statement that employees incentives would not be based on referrals or the generation of business that might be reimbursed by any federal healthcare program. -- by Cinda Becker