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Changes to the Stark Law Are on the Horizon

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) just issued a Request for Information seeking recommendations and input from the public on how to address any undue impact and burden of the physician self-referral law – commonly referred to as the "Stark Law."

According to the CMS announcement, one of the top areas of burden identified in over 2600 comments received in a Request for Information regarding areas of high regulatory burden, was compliance with the Stark Law and its accompanying regulations. In response to these concerns, CMS undertook a review of the existing regulations to determine where the agency could consider potential areas for burden reduction.

"We are looking for information and bold ideas on how to change the existing regulations to reduce provider burden and put patients in the driver's seat," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. "Dealing with the burden of the physician self-referral law is one of our top priorities as we move towards a health care system that pays for value rather than volume."

A review of the Request for Information revealed some hints about changes to the Stark Law that could be on the horizon. For example, CMS would like input and recommendations on:

  • Addressing unnecessary obstacles to coordinated care, real or perceived, caused by the physician self-referral law.
  • Identifying concerns regarding the applicability of existing exceptions to the physician self-referral law and/or the ability of the arrangements to satisfy the requirements of an existing exception.
  • The extent to which the physician self-referral law may be impacting commercial alternative payment models and novel financial arrangements.

To access the Request for Information click the following link: Medicare Program; Request for Information Regarding the Physician Self-Referral Law.  Public comments should be submitted by August 24, 2018.

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