HHS Watchdog Won't Punish Hospitals For Free In-Home Care

By Jeff Overley (March 7, 2019, 10:00 PM EST) -- A hospital can provide complimentary in-home care to reduce readmissions even though the care implicates a federal ban on freebies that influence patient decisions, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services watchdog said Thursday.

In an advisory opinion posted Thursday, HHS' Office of Inspector General shielded current and proposed arrangements offering free care to patients suffering from congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The two conditions are part of a federal program that penalizes hospitals for excess readmissions.

According to the opinion, the unidentified hospital's arrangements don't "promote access to care" and therefore don't qualify for an exception...

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