Corporate Compliance

CMS advisory opinion process

Compliance Monitor, November 11, 2005

Q: How does CMS process advisory opinion requests?

A: Pursuant to the Stark regulations, CMS must determine when 15 days of receiving a request whether to accept or decline the request or whether additional information is required. Once it has accepted a request, CMS has 90 days-subject to certain tolling periods-to issue an advisory opinion. If a request involves a complex arrangement, however, CMS will issue an advisory opinion within a "reasonable period." If the OIG advisory opinion process is any guide, a "reasonable time period" may be as long as one year, and perhaps longer.

Requesters may withdraw a request for an advisory opinion at any time before CMS issues the opinion. Once it issues a formal advisory opinion, CMS will make a redacted version of it available to the general public on its Web site.

The above tip is an excerpt from the book "The Stark Law: A User's Guide to Achieving Compliance," Copyright 2005 by HCPro, Inc. This book is a reader-friendly, one-stop guide to this complex law.

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