In an article for Nashville Medical News, Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Taylor Chenery examined two recent Department of Justice (DOJ) memoranda that limit the use of guidance documents in civil enforcement actions. These memos may signal a change in how the government will approach enforcement efforts involving allegations of healthcare fraud and provide insight into how providers may be able to contest such allegations.

The memos – the first released in November 2017 by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the second released in January 2018 by then-Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand – “relate to the government’s use of guidance documents — as opposed to codified statutes or regulations — to educate regulated parties and to enforce existing statutory or regulatory requirements.”

As Taylor points out in the article, while neither memo completely nullifies the use of guidance documents in enforcement actions, “At the very least, the memos afford healthcare providers additional defense arguments when faced with allegations of regulatory or statutory violations.”

The full article, “DOJ Memos Denote Change in Use of Guidance Documents in Enforcement Actions,” was published by Nashville Medical News on April 11, 2018, and is available online.