Characterizing its objective as a “regulatory sprint to coordinated care,” the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General this summer asked stakeholders for their input on how it might ease federal anti-kickback laws in ways that promote better coordination of care and cooperation between different types of caregivers while not encouraging fraud that costs consumers and taxpayers.

At the heart of this effort are laws that limit the ability of doctors and hospitals to work together.  Hospitals, for example, currently have limited tools with which to influence the behavior of doctors serving Medicare and Medicaid patients while insurers are limited in their efforts to encourage certain desired behaviors among those they insure.  Meanwhile, as this effort continues, the Justice Department continues to prosecute cases of alleged fraud that involves kickbacks.

The entire subject is exceedingly complex and the administration invited stakeholders to offer suggestions for how to loosen the laws without loosing new forms of inappropriate kickbacks.  Hundreds of interested parties submitted suggestions to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Learn more about the administration’s efforts to address anti-kickback laws in this New York Times article.