CMS to create new anti-kickback provisions, wants input

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is seeking comments on the creation of new anti-kickback “safe harbor” provisions and fraud alerts.

The new provisions will address a “broad” statute of the Social Security Act that imposes criminal penalties on those who defraud federal healthcare programs, CMS said in a notice posted Tuesday.

“Concern has been expressed for many years that some relatively innocuous commercial arrangements may be subject to criminal prosecution or administrative sanction,” the release states. “The so-called ‘safe harbor' provisions, specifying various payment and business practices that, although potentially capable of  inducing referrals of business reimbursable under the Federal healthcare programs, would not be treated as criminal offenses under the anti-kickback statute.”

In reviewing public comments on the provisions, CMS said it would take into account several factors, including the quality of healthcare, patient freedom of choice, competition among providers and the cost to federal healthcare programs.

CMS is also seeking comments on special fraud alerts from the Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General, which gives compliance guidance to healthcare providers.

Comments are due to CMS by February 22 and can be submitted here.