In the proposed arrangement, the OIG noted that the interface would only by used by participating physicians to transmit orders to, and receive results from, hospital laboratory and diagnostic services. In this regard, the OIG concluded that the offered services were integrally related to the hospital's services and that the access to the interface would have no independent value to the participating physicians. The OIG found this situation to be analogous to the above-noted example of the provision of a computer by a laboratory to a medical practice for the sole purpose of receiving results. Therefore, the OIG determined that the arrangement would not implicate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.
Because the arrangement would not generate prohibited remuneration under the act, the OIG would not impose administrative sanctions.
As is standard for all of its advisory opinions, the OIG cautioned that its analysis was limited to the proposed arrangement and it offers no opinion on ancillary or related arrangements. It further included standard limitations, such as that the opinion is limited to only the statutory provisions specifically cited within it. The OIG makes no assurances that the arrangement is legal under any other laws or regulations, including the federal Stark Law. Further, the opinion may only be relied on by the requestor.
While the opinion may only be relied upon by the parties to whom it is issued, as noted above, it does provide insight to practitioners as to factors the OIG examines in arrangements that may involve the provision of free or below-market-value technology.
Vasilios J. Kalogredis is the president and founder of Kalogredis Sansweet Dearden & Burke, a health care law firm, and Professional Practice Consulting Inc., a health care consulting firm, in Wayne, Pa. Email: BKalogredis@KSDBhealthlaw.com. Karilynn Bayus is an associate at the firm. Email: KBayus@KSDBhealthlaw.com.