HCCA: Stark, AKB, and IT–Considerations for the Compliance Professional

I attended a session yesterday at HCCA which tackled the incredible complex and rapidly evolving topic of IT as it relates to Stark and AKB violations.  Jim Donaldson of Baptist Health Care Corporation lead the presentation, with the goals of gaining an appreciation for the growing complexity of situations that involve provider technology initiating compliance issues with physicians.

Jim comforted the crowd by acknowledging that everyone is struggling with issues of compliance when it comes to technology.  Because things change so quickly, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to stay ahead of the curve.  He caught us up on a few risks, some quite surprising, that are coming to play in hospital/physician relationships.

The devil is in the details when it comes to non-employed physicians and technology.  Did you include ethernet wiring in your physician office lease?  If not, or your physicians aren’t paying for it, you could have a Stark issue on your hands.  Are physicians at your hospital using your wireless for accessing a virtual desktop connected to their private practice?  This means that a physician is getting a resource from your organization without paying for it.

As cloud-based services continue to grow, so will challenges with using these technologies with an eye towards compliance.  Behavioral and mental health practitioners who wish to utilize online technology like Skype or Google Hangouts cannot do so without a business associates agreement.


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