Physician Practice Roundup—OIG seeks ideas to fix kickback laws; Verma doubles down on 2-sided risk models

doctor paperwork
The government wants to break down barriers to care coordination while still protecting against fraud and abuse. (Rawpixel)

In shift to value, providers worry about running afoul of kickback laws. OIG announced it's seeking ideas on how to fix that

The Department of Health and Human Services has released its long-promised request for information on reforming anti-kickback statutes.

The RFI (PDF) was posted to the Federal Register on Monday. The HHS Office of Inspector General is seeking feedback on ways it could adjust the implementation of the law to allow for better growth of value-based care programs.

OIG wants to build new safe harbors or modify existing ones to break down barriers to care coordination while still protecting against fraud and abuse, it said in the document. (FierceHealthcare)

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With Next-Generation ACO report fresh off the presses, Verma doubles down on 2-sided risk models

Ready or not, here come value-based care reforms, says one top Trump administration health official. 

On a webinar with the Accountable Care Learning Collaborative (ACLC) on Monday, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma reiterated that it’s “time to take the next step” in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

She argued two-sided risk models lead to better outcomes and lower costs, but 82% of ACOs still haven't made the transition. CMS wants to force those remaining ACOs to switch with a new rule that would limit upside-only models to just two years. (FierceHealthcare)

Doctors should counsel pregnant, breastfeeding women against marijuana use

As more states legalize cannabis, doctors should counsel women of childbearing age about the potential negative consequences of marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, a new study concluded.

Maternal marijuana use has potential negative effects on pregnancy outcomes, as well as on fetal, infant, and child neurodevelopment, according to a clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics published in the journal Pediatrics. (Pediatrics)

Doctors deserve answers about future of loan forgiveness program

Writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, four doctors say it’s time for lawmakers to settle the future of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that helps physicians cut the cost of medical school.

The program requires participants to make 10 years of loan repayments while employed at a nonprofit or governmental institution, after which all remaining educational debt sponsored by the federal government is forgiven. Lawmakers have threatened to cut the program, leaving what the doctors called unnecessary uncertainties. “Because the program's future is uncertain, time will tell whether these physicians [using the loan program] made a good choice, and medical students graduating now would rather not wait 10 years to find out,” the doctors wrote. (Annals of Internal Medicine)

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