Fader Writes and Speaks on Neuromonitoring ‘Surgeon Deals’

June 28, 2024 | Eric D. Fader | Compliance, Investigations & White Collar | Health Services

Eric Fader co-authored the article “OIG Advisory Opinion Cautions Against ‘Surgeon Deals’ in Neuromonitoring” in SpineLine, the magazine of the North American Spine Society (NASS), with Dr, Rich Vogel, Co-Chair of the NASS Section on Intraoperative Neurophysiological Monitoring (IONM).

The article includes a detailed analysis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General Advisory Opinion 23-05, previously discussed in Rivkin Rounds, which warned that a common arrangement under which surgeons profit from referrals of their patients for IONM services can violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute. The federal government has issued warnings against these types of “suspect contractual joint ventures” from time to time over many years, but this is the first time the analysis has been applied to IONM.

Following the article, Eric and Dr. Vogel recorded a podcast, where they discussed the subject matter of the OIG Advisory Opinion itself (potential violations of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute within the intraoperative monitoring industry), what IONM is, which types of surgeries it is used for, and questions regarding patient safety vs. possible overutilization of the service when it is not medically necessary.

IONM companies and surgeons enter into or continue these arrangements at their own potential peril – the federal government now has the IONM industry and possible abuses on its radar. The Advisory Opinion has broader implications to any arrangement in which a physician or practice receives compensation for entering into a “joint venture” with another party that does most or all of the work and the physician’s or practice’s contribution to the joint venture is merely patient referrals.

To read the full article, click here.

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