In a move that may change the way patient healthcare info is processed and secured, several health care industry groups are asking the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to enact an anti-kickback waiver allowing the donation of cybersecurity technology to better protect patient data.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a request for information (ROI) asking stakeholders for their input regarding multiple potential arrangements that would contradict the Anti-Kickback Statute. This is one way that health care providers and suppliers want to reimagine the patient relationship and possibly alter the Anti-Kickback statute.
Before including any waiver in the Anti-Kickback Statute, the HHS wants to know what incentives providers and suppliers intend to offer and how they will benefit patients and the quality of care. The agency is looking for ways to remove unnecessary barriers to smooth and secure patient care coordination while also preventing health care fraud.
The federal Anti-Kickback Statute penalizes persons or groups who knowingly and willfully pay, offer, solicit, or receive incentives or rewards for the promise of business under government healthcare programs. The Anti-Kickback Statute is a criminal statute that carries both civil and criminal penalties for violations. Criminal penalties include fines of up to $25,000 and up to five years in prison.
Cybersecurity and Patient Information
In response to the OIG inquiry to various health care industry groups about ways to streamline patient care coordination, they responded with input about ways to improve cybersecurity and safeguard private medical data. The Healthcare Sector Security Council specifically recommended an anti-kickback waiver permitting the donation of cybersecurity training and technology to providers. Industry groups also requested a safe harbor allowing small or under-resourced providers to accept donations of cybersecurity tools and training.
Another industry group, Advanced Medical Technology Association, noted that the current Anti-Kickback Statute has not been effectively updated to align with recent changes to federal health care reimbursement programs. They want a safe harbor that allows vendors to offer mobile applications, training, and other tools to enhance patient care coordination at every level.
Considering the recent health data breaches, health care cybersecurity would surely benefit from a thorough investigation. The comment period for OIG closed last month and it remains to be seen if the HHS will introduce an anti-kickback waiver allowing providers to accept donations of cybersecurity tools and technology.
Philadelphia Health Care Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Doctors Facing Anti-Kickback Violations
As the Anti-Kickback Statute faces potential changes, physicians may be unclear about their rights under the law. If you are a physician facing anti-kickback violations, trust the skilled and knowledgeable Philadelphia health care lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. to protect you and your business. To learn about the legal options available to you regarding your employment law matter, schedule a free consultation today by calling 215-569-1999 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly represent clients throughout the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.