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Ambulatory Surgery Center Joint Venture Between Nonprofit Hospital and Surgeons Poses Low Fraud and Abuse Risk, According to Office of the Inspector General

August 20, 2008

By James F. Owens and Paul A. Gomez

In an Advisory Opinion (08-08), recently posted by the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health & Human Services (OIG), the OIG implicitly approved an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) joint venture owned by a nonprofit hospital and group of surgeons, notwithstanding the fact that the joint venture did not satisfy any applicable anti-kickback safe harbor for ASCs. The advisory opinion arguably represents a shift in the recent trend for the OIG to disfavor such joint ventures and provides guidance for structuring ASC joint ventures among hospitals and physicians.