The Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services ("OIG") is asking all interested parties for information and recommendations on its existing Provider Self-Disclosure Protocol ("Protocol"). This significant request was published on June 18, 2012, to "inform[ ] the public that the OIG: intends to update the Provider Self-Disclosure Protocol ... and solicits input from the public for OIG to consider in updating the Protocol." All interested parties must submit comments to the OIG by 5 p.m. on August 17, 2012. The OIG will accept comments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, by mail, or by hand. Comments will be made publicly available. We urge all interested parties to submit comments to this important Protocol.
Self-Disclosure Protocol Background
The Protocol, published by the OIG in October 1998, provides a mechanism through which providers may voluntarily report to the OIG potential violations of criminal, civil, or administrative law governing federal health care programs for which exclusion or civil monetary penalties are authorized. The Protocol is a critical reporting process for health care providers to utilize, as appropriate, for the formal resolution of matters with the OIG in a cooperative manner. The Protocol is open to all health care providers of any industry, including individuals and entities. "Health care provider" is not defined in the Protocol.
The OIG has long held that health care providers have an obligation to take measures to detect and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. OIG guidance regarding the elements of an effective corporate compliance program includes voluntary reporting to enforcement authorities when issues are identified. The Protocol is designed to support the voluntary reporting obligations. As such, the Protocol provides guidance regarding investigating the conduct at issue, quantifying damages, and reporting the conduct to the OIG.
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