The Office of Inspector General at the Health and Human Services Department has reportedly sent letters to emergency physicians nationwide asking for information about inappropriate admissions, ACEP leaders have learned.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 32 – No 01 – January 2013
The reported inquiry comes at a time when federal regulators are also reportedly investigating hospitals and physician groups about their admission practices.
The HHS Office of Inspector General, according to its website, is the largest inspector general’s office in the Federal Government and is dedicated to combating fraud, waste and abuse, with a majority of its resources aimed toward Medicare and Medicaid.
If emergency physicians receive this letter and are unsure about their next steps, ACEP recommends consulting their hospital or group with their questions.
ACEP believes emergency physicians recommend hospital admissions based on patient need, but recently there have been reports in media about physicians who say they have been pressured.
ACEP’s Policy Statement “Writing Admission and Transition Orders” was last reaffirmed by the ACEP Board of Directors in April 2010 (www.acep.org/Clinical—Practice-Management/Writing-Admission-and-Transition-Orders/).
The policy states, in part, that “emergency physicians generally do not have admitting privileges and do not provide continuing inpatient care.” The policy also states that “Hospital and emergency department policies should clearly delineate responsibility for writing admission or transition orders. Policies must define an appropriate period of time for the admitting physician to see the patient and prepare admission orders.”