HIMSS News

HIMSS Comments on Anti-Kickback Request for Information

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On Friday, October 26, HIMSS submitted a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Medicare and State Health Care Programs: Fraud and Abuse; Request for Information Regarding the Anti-Kickback Statute and Beneficiary Inducements CMP offering its support of HHS-OIG’s efforts to address regulatory provisions that may act as barriers to coordinated care or value-based care. HIMSS wants the healthcare regulatory oversight system to create a balance between additional flexibilities for stakeholders to provide efficient, well-coordinated, patient-centered care with protections against the harms caused by fraud and abuse.

HIMSS echoes the concerns noted in the June 2017 HHS Cybersecurity Task Force Report that, under the current physician self-referral law and Anti-Kickback Statute, cybersecurity vulnerabilities exist due to the legal prohibition on larger healthcare organizations helping smaller organizations and physician practices to purchase cybersecurity software, training, hardware and operational services. HIMSS requests an exception to the Statute to allow for the subsidizing of cybersecurity needs such as software, hardware, training and tools for cybersecurity risk identification as well as threat assessment.

HIMSS is supportive of the greater use of telehealth by practitioners and asks that the Telehealth Safe Harbor be re-examined to echo the changes that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made to expand telehealth coverage provisions and reduce the restrictions placed on telehealth providers. CMS is looking at additional steps that the agency could take to expand access to telehealth services even further within its current statutory authority and pay appropriately for services that take full advantage of communication technologies. The Safe Harbor should correspond to the approach that CMS has taken for a much more open perspective on paying for telehealth-related services and equipment.

HIMSS strongly supports the continuation of the current Statute’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) Safe Harbor to ensure that more clinicians have access to the latest technology and can utilize that technology in the push to value-based care delivery. EHRs and other health technologies are designed to improve care and ultimately improve health as well as help streamline the extra layer of unnecessary effort that regulatory requirements often demand.

Finally, HIMSS remains supportive of the more extensive use of Safe Harbors focused on incentives that encourage more beneficiary engagement and participation in achieving better outcomes. HIMSS would like to see these arrangements flourish between all providers and beneficiaries in all federal health care programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.

View the full letter