The U.S. Senate recently passed an armed services authorization bill (S. 1867) that includes language designed to exempt Tricare providers from FAR compliance.
Health care providers that provide services pursuant to Tricare, VA and Medicare Advantage contracts have continuously struggled to determine whether or not they are considered subcontractors under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”), by simply being a provider, and therefore required to comply with its provisions. Compliance with the FAR as a subcontractor requires providers to implement affirmative actions plans and other related requirements. The interpretation of the applicability of the FAR to providers has also subjected providers to significant audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) at the U.S Department of Labor.
With that said, it seems that a reprieve may be coming down the pike from Congress, at least with respect to Tricare providers. The U.S. Senate recently passed an armed services authorization bill (S. 1867) that includes language designed to exempt provides from FAR compliance.
S. 1867 Section 702 provides – “In establishing rates and procedures for reimbursement of providers and other administrative requirements, including those contained in provider network agreements, the Secretary shall to the extent practicable maintain adequate networks of providers, including institutional, professional, and pharmacy. Network providers under such provider network agreements are not considered subcontractors for purposes of the Federal Acquisition Regulation or any other law.”
The underlined provision, if it eventually makes it into the House version of the bill, would affirmatively exempt Tricare providers from FAR compliance. This is a great win for providers burdened by the FAR and the related audits that have been conducted by the OFCCP.