OIG Frowns Again on Proposed Company Model Arrangements with Anesthesiologists

anesthIn December, 2012, the OIG reviewed and frowned upon two proposed scenarios, each of which had the effect of shifting to ASC-owner/surgeons a portion of the fees earned from anesthesia services.  The OIG has done it again!

In an era of tremendous stress in the healthcare marketplace, it’s not surprising that some surgeons were willing to push the envelope to capture anesthesia fees they otherwise would not receive.  Traditionally, physician-owned surgery and endoscopy centers contract with anesthesia providers on an exclusive basis and let the anesthesiologists separately bill for anesthesia services.  Anesthesiologists kept whatever was collected for anesthesia services; and surgeons kept whatever was paid for their services.  Plus, if the surgeon was also an owner of the center, the surgeon received a portion of the profits left over from the facility or technical fee.  In the past several years, however, center-owning surgeons are often looking for ways to share anesthesia fees.  The latest OIG Advisory Opinion (13-15) may cause some surgeons to back down or to reevaluate the long-term viability of the so-called “Company Model.”  Continue reading