OIG to audit hospital compliance with Provider Relief Fund surprise-billing rule

HHS' Office of the Inspector General said Jan. 20 it would conduct a nationwide audit of hospitals' compliance with the terms and conditions related to the Provider Relief Fund. 

Under conditions of accepting money from the Provider Relief Fund, hospitals must not pursue the collection of out-of-pocket payments from COVID-19 patients in excess of what patients would have paid in-network providers. 

The OIG plans to determine whether hospitals that accepted the terms and received provider relief payments complied with the surprise-billing requirement for COVID-19 inpatients. 

"We will assess how bills were calculated for out-of-network patients admitted for COVID-19 treatment, review supporting documentation for compliance, and assess procedural controls and monitoring to ensure compliance with the balance billing requirement," the OIG said. 

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