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OIG issues new guidance for healthcare companies on excluded workers

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday released new guidelines for healthcare providers on how to avoid hiring workers who are banned from Medicare and Medicaid programs, but lawyers said the 19-page advisory left some uncertainties about which relationships are prohibited.

Under federal law, the Office of Inspector General has the power to sanction healthcare providers that employ, or enter into contracts with, individuals who are prohibited from providing products or services that are ultimately billed to Medicare or Medicaid. Such individuals may have committed a variety of infractions, from submitting fraudulent Medicare claims to defaulting on student loans.