In recent years, issues have arisen as to whether hospitals generally, or any particular hospital, can or should make payments to physicians for providing on-call coverage for the hospital’s emergency department. Hospitals have often resisted making such payments on the grounds that such payments could violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute, or because such coverage was the responsibility of a physician as a member of the hospital’s medical staff, or simply because the hospital could not afford the payment.
In Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) Advisory Opinion No. 12-15 issued on October 23, 2012, the OIG reviewed and, in effect, approved a hospital’s payment for such on-call coverage. This opinion provides guidance to hospitals or to medical staffs considering the implementation of an on-call payment program.