PracticeLink Magazine

Winter 2018

The career development quarterly for physicians of all specialties, PracticeLink Magazine provides readers with feature articles, compensation stats, helpful job search tips—as well as recruitment ads from organizations across the U.S.

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24 W INTER 2018 PracticeLink.com ▼ T HE Qua L I T Y of L I f E ISS u E D E P A R T M E N T S Legal Matters BR u C e a RM o N y our guide to the Stark l aw The Stark Law is intended to prevent fraud, abuse and waste. Here's what physicians need to know. PR e V e N ti NG f R au D a ND a B u S e and enforcing existing federal fraud and abuse statutes remains a priority, no matter the future of health care reform. Maintaining these efforts saves dollars in the federal treasury and helps ensure accountability and discipline by all participants in the health care delivery system. There are five principal federal fraud abuse statutes that are most relevant to physicians irrespective of practice specialty, years of experience, or practice setting: false claims act (FCA), anti-kickback statute (A KS), exclusion authorities, civil monetary penalties law (CM P) and the focus of this article, the Stark Law. Why is it called the Stark Law? In 1989, then-Congressman Pete Stark (D-California) introduced the Ethics in Patient Referrals Act. The bill was signed into law and is colloquially referred to as the Stark Law because of its principal sponsor. What was the purpose of the Stark Law? When the statute was enacted, it applied only to physician self-referrals for clinical laboratory services. A premise for the Stark Law was that the prohibition would eliminate any financial incentive for a physician to send a patient for unnecessary lab testing, and therefore reduce health care costs. Since its initial passage, the statute has been amended and there have been multiple sets of regulations published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). What does the Stark Law prohibit? The Stark Law prohibits a physician from making referrals for certain designated health services (D h S) payable by Medicare to an entity with which the physician or an immediate family member has a financial relationship (which can be ownership, investment or compensation) unless an exception applies. The Stark Law also prohibits that entity from presenting or causing to be presented claims to Medicare for those referred services. What is a designated health service? There are 12 D h S categories: clinical laboratory services; physical therapy services; occupational therapy services; outpatient speech-language pathology services; radiology and certain other imaging services; radiation therapy services and supplies; durable medical equipment and supplies; parenteral and enteral nutrients, equipment and supplies; prosthetic, orthotics, and prosthetic

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