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Chemotherapy Drugs Categorized as ‘In-Office Ancillary Services’

Chemotherapy Drugs Categorized as ‘In-Office Ancillary Services’

Not only has the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) backed off on threats to reduce Medicare and Medicaid payments to oncologists for in-office chemotherapy infusion drugs, but now HCFA is making it clear that oncologists can provide those drugs to patients without running afoul of federal self-referral rules. Those rules actually became law in 1993 thanks to Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif), who sponsored the bill that made it illegal for physicians to refer patients for 10 categories of medical services if the physician or a member of his family had a financial interest in that service provider. An exception was made for physicians referring patients intra-office for ancillary services, but when HCFA issued the proposed rule a few years ago, it was unclear whether chemotherapy drugs would be included in the exemption. When HCFA issued the final rules this past January, it was clearly explained that chemotherapy infusion drugs were to be considered exempt.

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