March 2 is the deadline for proposals and recommendations for new “safe harbor” provisions, modifications to existing provisions of the federal anti-kickback statute or new fraud alerts to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG published its annual solicitation Dec. 30 in the Federal Register.
Safe harbor provisions are regulations that clarify the circumstances under which individuals and entities can be penalized for knowingly and willfully offering, paying, soliciting or receiving “remuneration to induce or reward business reimbursable under the federal healthcare programs,” according to the OIG. Offenses are felonies punishable by fines and imprisonment, so clarification is needed to address concerns that “some relatively innocuous commercial arrangements may be subject to criminal prosecution or administration sanction,” according to the OIG.
The special fraud alerts mentioned in the notice would “give continuing guidance to healthcare providers with respect to practices OIG finds potentially fraudulent or abusive.”
The Federal Register details how to submit comments and provides additional information.