American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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OIG incorporates College recommendations into new compliance guidelines

From the November 2000 ACP-ASIM Observer, copyright © 2000 by the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine.

In late September, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) released final fraud and abuse compliance guidelines for physicians that incorporate many of the College's recommendations to make the guidelines more user-friendly for internists. The OIG developed the guidelines to help physician practices submit Medicare claims that are accurate.

"The final guide is far more flexible than the original draft," Robert B. Doherty, the College's Senior Vice President for Governmental Affairs and Public Policy, said in a statement. "It is voluntary, and the OIG recognizes that 'one size does not fit all.' We are particularly pleased to see that the OIG included our recommendation that physicians be encouraged to adopt the active application of compliance principles in their practices, rather than implement rigid, costly formal procedures."

The College said it was pleased that the OIG's guidelines emphasize that patient care is a physician's highest priority; that the guidelines no longer refer to federal sentencing guidelines for compliance violations; and that physicians don't necessarily have to implement all seven elements of a compliance program.

ACP­ASIM provided input as the OIG developed its guidelines. The College arranged for OIG officials to meet with practicing physicians to hear their concerns, and College officials plan to have an ongoing dialogue with the OIG as compliance concerns arise.

A copy of the OIG's final guidelines is available on the Web at www.hhs.gov/oig/new.html. A copy of the College's July 26 letter to the OIG commenting on its draft guidelines is on the Web at www.acponline.org/hpp/oigguide700.htm.

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