Friday, December 9, 2016

OIG Announces New Ambulance AKS Safe Harbor

Breaking News

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a new rule pertaining to government-owned and operated ambulance providers and suppliers this week regarding the waiving of Medicare copayments and deductibles for emergency ambulance services under the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS).

OIG Announces New Ambulance AKS Safe Harbor
The rule was published in the Federal Register on Wednesday and will then go into effect exactly 30 days from publication.

The rule establishes a nationwide “safe harbor” regulation for these government owned entities if they meet the OIG’s specific conditions.

It’s important to note that this rule does not apply to non-government based ambulance providers and suppliers. That doesn’t mean that those non-government agencies that use subscription programs for these purposes are going anything illegal, but means that the arrangement is not guaranteed safe harbor protection under the AKS.

So important…

This new safe harbor announcement is so important that we will yield the remainder of this blog space this week by sharing a re-print of the information as highlighted by our friends at the nationally-recognized Fire/EMS law firm, Page, Wolfberg and Wirth.

You’ll not only find PWW’s highlights included below, but also links to the new safe harbor regulation as well as a pertinent OIG Advisory Opinion that is similar in scope.

Because these regulations are so important, should you have questions regarding how these regulations apply to your unique situation, we strongly recommend that you contact your legal counsel or reach out to the lawyers at Page, Wolfberg and Wirth for clarification to insure your organization remains in full and complete compliance with the law.



Big News for Government Agencies!

Today, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a major rule that would permit government-owned and operated ambulance providers and suppliers to waive Medicare copayments and deductibles for emergency ambulance services. The rule goes into effect in 30 days.  

What Does This Mean?

The OIG is establishing an official “safe harbor” under the anti-kickback statute (AKS). If certain requirements are met, government-owned/operated ambulance providers and suppliers can receive safe harbor protection under the AKS if they choose to waive the collection of beneficiary cost-sharing amounts. While the OIG has permitted some municipally-owned ambulance providers to treat tax revenues as payment of cost-sharing amounts through past Advisory Opinions, this new rule establishes a nationwide safe harbor regulation for government owned/operated ambulance services to waive copayments and deductibles for emergency ambulance services if they meet the OIG’s specific conditions.   

What are the Conditions?

Click HERE to read more about the safe harbor requirements and what this rule means for your agency.



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