The OIG Office of Evaluation and Inspections, Region 1, has issued inquiries to a sample of hospitals that have billed Medicare for spinal surgeries to measure how many of the sampled hospitals purchased implantable spinal devices from physician-owned entities.  OIG is conducting the inquiry at Congressional request, with the stated goal of determining “the number of hospitals that purchase spinal devices from physician-owned entities and what benefits hospitals may derive from these distribution models.”  The inquiry requests that hospitals complete a general questionnaire on those topics, and answer questions relating to at least one specific, sampled invoice of a spinal surgery for which the hospital billed Medicare.

Among the questions posed in the inquiry, OIG seeks information regarding whether the sampled invoice(s) is for a surgery performed by a physician who practices in the hospital and has an ownership interest in the entity that supplied the device used during the surgery.

The completed questionnaire is due to OIG by October 31, 2012, though we understand OIG has granted an extension.  OIG instructs providers to complete the survey online, where the sampled invoice(s) will be provided.  A copy of the questions is available by clicking here.