The HHS Office of Inspector General released an advisory opinion highlighting the potential for fraud and abuse in provider-sponsored continuing education programs, according to a July 19 article in JDSupra.
The advisory opinion, released June 29, evaluated continuing education programs sponsored by an ophthalmology practice that collaborates with local optometrists, many of whom have co-management relationships within the practice, according to the article.
The advisory opinion aims to inform healthcare transaction due diligence for ophthalmology and other speciality practices with sponsored continuing education programs for referral sources.
The OIG sees potential in continuing education and speaker programs to be used to provide prohibited payments to referral sources and lead to anti-kickback statute violations, according to the article.
The OIG encourages practices to consider these questions:
- Does the program offer actual educational value to attendees?
- Are program meals for attendees appropriate?
- Is the program venue conducive to educational programming?
- How are provider speakers and attendees selected?
- How are program speakers paid?
Read more about the advisory opinion here.