New OIG Advisory Opinion: 13-15 Further Hardens Line on Anesthesiologist Relationships

The Office of Inspector General just released an advisory opinion which may further discourage relationships whereby non-anesthesia providers can profit from anesthesia relationships.

In Advisory Opinion 13-15, the OIG refuses to offer a favorable advisory opinion in a situation where a psychiatrist would pay an anesthesia group a per diem rate for coverage. The anesthesia group would then assign their right to bill for the services to the anesthesia provider.

Here, the alleged kickback is the right to generate a fee/profit equal to the amount the psychiatry group could bill over the amount it would pay the anesthesia group. The OIG articulates that no safe harbor would protect the per diem amount and no safe harbor would protect the reassignment of billings.

The OIG further reasons that the arrangement gave the psychiatry group the right to a portion of anesthesia revenues in exchange for the psychiatry group referrals.
The opinion overall may further discourage a host of anesthesia provider relationships.

The anesthesia community has become unusually adept at utilizing the advisory opinion process to influence market activity.  

More Articles on Anesthesia:
10 Challenges & Opportunities for Anesthesia in 2014
Why Anesthesiology Practices Should Pay Attention to the Success Strategies of ACSs
How Evaluate the Efficiency and Quality of an ASC's Anesthesia Services

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