Advocacy & Practice Updates — Advocacy & Practice

HHS OIG Issues Narrow Opinion Related to Offering CME to Referring Optometrists

The  HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued an advisory opinion to a cataract practice that is considering offering accredited continuing medical education (CME) to optometrists in the area who may be co-managing patients for post-operative care.

The OIG noted that they did not intend to take enforcement action under the federal anti-kickback statute if the practice charged a registration fee for the program and did not market it to specific optometrists based on referral patterns. OIG noted that this arrangement could be construed as violating provisions of the statute, but represented a low-risk of inducing referrals to the ophthalmology practice. OIG ruled that other proposed program arrangements, including a free CME program or incorporating corporate support would be a high-risk violation of the anti-kickback statute that could expose the practice to potential regulatory action. 

(Published 7.6.22)