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OIG Proposing New Ambulance Safe Harbor

October 3, 2014
FROM:      Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, LLC
RE:           OIG Proposing New Ambulance Safe Harbor 

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is poised to publish a Proposed Rule that would establish a new safe harbor to the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) for certain ambulance services. This safe harbor would permit waivers of Medicare cost-sharing amounts (Medicare coinsurance and deductibles) for emergency ambulance services furnished by State or municipally-owned Part B ambulance providers and suppliers, if certain conditions are met

The OIG is soliciting comments on the safe harbor and you can download an advance copy of the Rule by clicking HERE (the Rule is set for publication in the Federal Register on October 3, 2014).  

The OIG is also proposing a new safe harbor for free or discounted local transportation services provided to patients who need medically necessary services at other locations.  This safe harbor would apply to bus, van and shuttle-type services, and it specifically excludes transportation by ambulance.

The ambulance safe harbor is being proposed now because the OIG continues to get requests for advisory opinions from municipalities about using tax revenues to cover otherwise applicable cost-sharing amounts for Medicare beneficiaries. The OIG has generally permitted this practice in the past, and this safe harbor would establish the conditions under which the OIG would permit this practice in the future without imposing penalties under the AKS.

Click HERE to read more about what conditions would have to be met in order to meet this proposed safe harbor.

Guaranteed cash flow during transition.