Navigating the OIG for Telemedicine

April 7, 2014 by By InTouch Health

As hospitals are rapidly adopting acute care telemedicine it is easy to see why healthcare organizations are reaching out to attorneys well versed in telemedicine law.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) vigorously enforces the Anti-Kickback (AKB) Statute intended to root out fraud and abuse in the healthcare system. It is worthwhile noting that the OIG issued an advisory statement that recognized the cost-saving potential of telemedicine and indicated they would not prosecute any hub/spoke relationship that balances what each party contributes. Nonetheless, these hub/spoke contracts must be carefully constructed with regard to federal AKB law.

When properly structured based on legal advice and appropriate intention, a hub hospital can in most cases subsidize a significant portion of a spoke hospital’s acute care telemedicine program with very low AKB risk.

Healthcare organizations should be very careful in crafting these contracts since a violation of AKB law is a criminal offense that can result in fines and even jail sentences. Every detail of a hub/spoke contract should be thoroughly evaluated by legal professionals with expertise in telemedicine and e-health law.

And please remember: this is NOT legal advice. It’s just a blog letting you know that the AKB waters can be successfully navigated. But please don’t make that journey without legal counsel.