Part 4: What Can Providers Give to Patients?
Please do not hesitate to contact us with comments, questions, or requests for additional information.
Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.
|On May 24, 2021, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued another FAQ on the Application of Administrative Enforcement Authorities to Arrangements Directly Connected to the Coronavirus Disease: Would the offer or provision of cash, cash-equivalent, or in-kind incentives or rewards to Federal health care program beneficiaries who receive COVID-19 vaccinations during the public health emergency violate the OIG's administrative enforcement authorities?
The OIG first addressed this question by acknowledging that a broad range of entities, including providers, are offering a wide variety of incentives and rewards; such as food and beverages, tickets to concerts and sporting events, and cash; to recipients who are vaccinated. The OIG recognizes that widespread vaccine administration is crucial to the pandemic response and that incentives and rewards may promote broader access and increase the number of recipients.
The OIG also pointed out, however, that these rewards and incentives may violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and the Civil Monetary Penalties Law (CMPL) governing beneficiary inducements.
The OIG then concluded that providers, in the limited context of the COVID-19 public health emergency, may give rewards or incentives to beneficiaries who receive either one or both doses of the vaccine because such incentives and rewards “would be sufficiently low risk under the Federal anti-kickback statute and Beneficiary Inducements CMP.”
Providers must, however, meet the following requirements:
The OIG then pointed out that the AKS and CMPL relate to items and services for which payment may be made in whole or in part under a Federal health program. According to the OIG, it is unlikely that these statutes are implicated by incentive and rewards furnished to commercially insured or uninsured individuals.
Finally, the OIG concluded by saying that it would not express any opinion on the merits or utility of particular incentives or rewards to address the goal of encouraging vaccination.
So, as long as the criteria above are met, providers may give incentives or rewards to beneficiaries in order to encourage them to be vaccinated.
©2021 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq. All rights reserved.
No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without the advance written permission of the author.