Gift cards for patients don't violate anti-kickback statute, OIG says

Share this article:

A facility that has proposed to offer grocery store gift cards in return for health screenings or clinical services will be sanctioned, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced.

The decision applies to enrollees in capitated Medicaid managed care plans who were assigned to a health center recently, or for at least one year but had not been seen there for one year.

The health center said the program was meant to encourage patients to take an interest in preventive care and increase their familiarity with the health center. The organization would not provide additional promotion or marketing of the arrangement.

A $20 grocery store card would be delivered via letter to eligible enrollees regardless of health status. The cards could not be redeemed for cash, and receipt of the cards would not require patients to select a particular clinical service at the health center. Patients could only receive one card per year.

The OIG said the proposal comes under the purview of the anti-kickback statute. However, it presents a low risk of fraud and abuse because the gift card would not lead to higher reimbursements for the health center and it would be limited and marketed to eligible enrollees.

Share this article:

More in News

A small team of workers responds best in emergencies, expert says

A small team of workers responds best in ...

Long-term care providers should consider a "flat" crisis management approach that relies on a core group of staff members, experts advised Wednesday at the LeadingAge annual conference.

Nursing homes have better pain and catheter management if leaders have more ...

Nursing homes led by administrators and directors of nursing with higher levels of education and certification have better outcomes on some key quality measures, according to recently published findings.

Court green-lights charges that a healthcare network underused observation stays

A whistleblower can continue to pursue charges that a Nevada healthcare network routinely admitted people as hospital inpatients when they should have been placed in observation status, a federal appeals court recently ruled.