Why is the OIG Extending the Comment Period for Permissive Exclusions?

Comment periods in the Federal Register are usually set in stone, giving the public anywhere from 15 to 90 days to weigh in government proposals. However, circumstances can change, as happened recently with an OIG notice requesting comments on potential revisions to the agency's permissive exclusion authority. 

While public comments were initially due by Sept. 9, the OIG extended the timeframe until Dec. 29, citing technical difficulties with www.regulations.gov, a website where comments can be submitted. The OIG said there was a chance some comments were never received, necessitating the extension.

Under the permissive exclusion authority, the OIG can bar individuals and entities from participating in federal health-care programs if they violate laws such as the False Claims Act and Civil Monetary Penalties Law.

Criteria for deciding whether to levy a permissive exclusion were last released in 1997, and the OIG should a revision could help providers understand the OIG decision-making process.

The OIG asked public stakeholders to submit comments on whether the permissive exclusion authority should differ between individuals and entities and whether it should take into account an organization's compliance program. Once all comments are in, the OIG said it would decide whether to revise the criteria for permissive exclusions as well as how it could go about the revision.