By: Julie Simer, Esq.

When Congress established the Medicare Shared Savings Program (“MSSP”), it authorized the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“Secretary”) to waive certain requirements of the federal fraud and abuse laws, as necessary to operate the MSSP. Consequently, on November 2, 2011, the CMS and OIG jointly published an interim final rule with comment period (“IFR”) in conjunction with the issuance of the MSSP final rule.  The IFR provides that certain provisions of the federal physician self-referral or Stark law, the federal anti-kickback statute and the civil monetary penalties law will be waived for an accountable care organization (“ACO”) participating in the MSSP, if it satisfies certain requirements.  However, the IFR was set to expire  on November 2, 2014.  On October 17, 2014, the CMS and the OIG jointly published a continuation of the IFR for one year.  Thus, the ACO fraud and abuse waivers will remain in effect through November 2, 2015, unless a final waiver rule becomes effective on an earlier date.