Under Federal anti-kickback regulations, giving referring physicians software has long counted as a valuable gift that could induce improper referrals. Now the government is recognizing that this well intentioned regulation may be harming efforts to increase interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs).
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have both published proposals in the Federal Register to increase safe-harbor exemptions to the anti-kickback regulations in order to further EHR adoption and interoperability.
The key, they agencies say, is that the technology gift must be interoperable, meaning that the physician using it could send data to various providers running different EHR systems and not just the provider who gifted the software technology.
Interested parties have 60 days to comment on the proposals before the new regulations take effect.