On August 24, 2006, the Office of Inspector General issued an Open Letter to healthcare providers encouraging self-disclosure of violations of the federal healthcare programs.
The fundamental premise of the letter is that increased compliance scrutiny by hospitals and physicians is identifying violations of the federal healthcare program laws, particularly, the Stark Act. The OIG’s existing self-disclosure protocol (SDP) is already intended to encourage voluntary self-disclosure and the OIG release encourages utilization of the SDP under these circumstances. Voluntary self-disclosure is designed as a program to rectify unlawful conduct with relatively less severe consequences. The OIG letter points out that there have been 136 voluntary self-disclosures coupled with payment of financial penalties and in only 27 of those cases has the OIG required corporate integrity agreements (CIA), often using the less burdensome certification of compliance agreements (CCAs).