Corporate Compliance

OIG approves the donation of a hospital office building to a medical school

Compliance Monitor, August 31, 2005

The OIG has posted an advisory opinion allowing a hospital to donate a medical office building to a state-affiliated medical school. The medical school intends to use the building to relocate the school's existing family medicine clinic.

In the advisory opinion, posted Aug. 16, the OIG concluded that the donation could potentially violate the antikickback statute. However, the OIG would not impose sanctions for several reasons.

First, the OIG ruled, the donation would confer a community benefit for the clinic's patients, most of whom are either Medicaid beneficiaries or uninsured.

Second, the donation would continue a common mission that the university and the hospital have shared for 30 years: to provide quality medical care. The OIG stated that this mission lowers the likelihood that the donation is motivated by the prospect of increased referrals.

Third, the university has certified that it will take a number of steps to insulate physician judgment and income from pressure to refer to the hospital, including:

  • The university will not require or encourage referrals from university physicians to the hospital
  • The university will not track referrals made by university physicians
  • Compensation paid to university physicians will not be tied to referrals
  • On an annual basis, the university will provide written notice of the limitations described in the agreement

      Click here to read the advisory opinion in its entirety.

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