OIG advisory opinion addresses quality incentives

In a new advisory opinion, the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General said it would not impose sanctions on a hospital for sharing with a physician group the bonus compensation it receives in a pay-for-performance agreement with a private insurer.

 The OIG said safeguards of the arrangement reduce the likelihood of improper payments and fraud or abuse as defined under the anti-kickback statute. For example, the arrangement only compensates physicians for meeting certain performance standards known to improve patient care that are endorsed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as part of The Joint Commission's Quality Measures Manual.

(SOURCE: AHA News Now, http://ahanews.com, October 16, 2008)