HHS has debuted a new protocol that enables hospitals and physicians to disclose and resolve potential violations of self-referral laws. Such laws prohibit providers from referring patients to imaging and other outpatient-service facilities in which they have ownership.
HHS unveils self-referral disclosure protocol
The protocol, which was mandated by healthcare reform legislation, replaces a self-disclosure process that was discontinued by HHS' Inspector General's Office in March 2009 for lack of resources. Under the new program, individual providers and large institutions will be given 60 days from the time that a potential violation is identified to report its occurrence to the CMS, according to information appearing on the HHS website. Providers should include an estimate of any potential overpayments that they may have received from the CMS as a result of the violation. The CMS will then review the report, and it has the option to reduce the amount of repayment that a provider must make if it is determined that the provider acted in good faith.
Under the protocol guidelines, the CMS will also coordinate a review of the disclosure report by the HHS inspector general and the Justice Department, which will each determine if the incident also violates anti-kickback laws.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.