This week the Office of Inspector General published an interesting Advisory Opinion (AO 12-22) dealing with a cardiology co-management agreement between a hospital and a private cardiology group practice.

Under the arrangement, the hospital would compensate the physicians for certain management, oversight, strategic planning and medical direction services in connection with the hospital’s four catheterization labs.

The Compensation payable to the physicians would consist of a fixed guaranteed amount and potential performance bonuses based on achieving specific patient satisfaction, quality and cost-saving targets.

Based on a number of safeguards within the arrangement, including that the bonus criteria were developed by a committee including providers outside the cardiology group and that the group’s performance and compensation would be reviewed by an independent consultant, the OIG stated that it would not impose sanctions on the requesting parties.

Although the Advisory Opinion is fact specific, as one of the first opinions dealing with co-management arrangements, it offers providers significant insight into how the OIG is likely to view these types of arrangements going forward.