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Challenges of maintaining compliant provider arrangements during and after a public health emergency

William J. Spratt, Jr. (william.spratt@akerman.com) is a Partner and Danielle C. Gordet (danielle.gordet@akerman.com) is an Associate at the Miami, FL, office of Akerman LLP.

The COVID-19 pandemic has required many healthcare providers to enter quickly into new or modified arrangements for the delivery of essential healthcare goods and services. Some of these arrangements may conflict with the Stark Law (Section 1877 of the Social Security Act) and its regulations and may expose providers to administrative sanctions by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) pursuant to the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS). In response to the unique circumstances of the pandemic, the secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the OIG published temporary waivers[1] and a policy statement[2] to provide compliance assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The blanket waivers and OIG policy statement will be in effect temporarily, until the end of the federal public health emergency declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (the emergency period).[3] This article provides general guidance on the relationship between the blanket waivers granted by HHS, the policy statement published by the OIG, and the return to full compliance upon the conclusion of the emergency period.

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