OIG investigation targets practice buy-back legality

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has launched an investigation to determine if charging physicians low prices, or even no prices, to buy back their medical practices from current hospital owners constitutes an illegal kickback, say OIG sources.

The OIG is interested in determining if such practices have been used to encourage practitioners to continue referring their patients to the hospital. "Any time you have a business transaction between physicians and something like a hospital that stands to benefit from referrals from that physician, the potential for a kickback concern exists," says OIG spokesperson Alwyn Cassil.