OIG Work Plan Updates: October 2021

The OIG has added quite a few new items to its work plan. Below is a summary of the added items that might affect your compliance program or organization.


It is almost weekly that we hear of some cybersecurity attack or breach. With COVID, many healthcare providers have increased their use of telehealth technology to evaluate patients. With this increased use comes increased cybersecurity risk. The OIG plans to audit how well cybersecurity controls have been implemented by the Indian Health Service (IHS) related to their use of telehealth technologies.


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As we have watched the COVID pandemic take lives, there has probably not been a more vulnerable population than residents of nursing homes. Since May of 2020, nursing homes have been required to report specific COVID data to an infection surveillance system managed by the CDC known as the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). For this OIG Work Plan item, the OIG plans to study and evaluate the CDC processes for nursing home reporting of COVID data to the NHSN. They will assess CDC oversight and support of nursing homes and identify challenges in the reporting process faced by nursing homes. One of the goals of this study includes informing HHS of appropriate infection surveillance, including a collection of routine infection data and other data related to public health emergencies.



The OIG has concerns that patient harm amounts of Medicare beneficiaries throughout various inpatient healthcare settings are too common. Federal regulations require hospitals and other facilities to identify harm, such as adverse events, and try to reduce these events from occurring. With this in mind, the OIG plans to create a tool kit for identifying adverse events through medical record review. They will use guidance materials and findings from prior OIG work to develop a web-based toolkit for identifying and measuring events. The toolkit will be shared with facilities to help them identify and monitor the incidence of adverse events. The toolkit will contain standard definitions for event types, lists of triggers to flag patient harm, reviewers’ suggestions, and clinical decision-making ideas.



Disparities in patient outcomes and health care delivery are considered by many to be a major public health concern. Disparities exist among communities of color and other disadvantaged groups. These groups often experience poorer outcomes than the rest of the U.S. population. The OIG plans to study disparities in patient safety and adverse events. They want to identify the extent of disparities and adverse event rates among hospital inpatients and determine the characteristics associated with hospitals that have higher rates. The data will include detailed information about adverse events experienced by a random sample of 770 hospitalized Medicare patients. They hope a better understanding can lead to discovering the underlying issues associated with these poorer outcomes, which, in turn, will lead to solutions.

As usual, compliance professionals should assess their organization’s risks on these newly added OIG Work Plan items. It is always better that you uncover any issues before the OIG does.


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