OIG advisory opinion statute set to expire

The legislation authorizing the Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) advisory opinion process is set to expire Aug. 21, throwing that program into jeopardy. OIG spokeswoman Alwyn Cassil says her office will continue to accept and process requests for opinions received prior to that date, it is unclear how the OIG will handle requests after Aug. 21 without a legislative mandate to extend the program. Since the program was authorized three years ago, the OIG has issued 41 opinions; and despite the OIG’s initial resistance to the program, it now considers it useful and beneficial. Health care attorney Sandy Teplitzky of the Baltimore-based firm Ober Kaler, who was instrumental in passing the measure to begin with, says the advisory opinion program has become an integral component of the compliance process.