Hospitals advised to review doc bonus deals in wake of Stark Law rulings

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Hospitals should review their physician bonus compensation arrangements with experienced healthcare regulatory counsel to ensure they comply with the Stark Law, according to an article published in Lexology. The recommendations come in the wake of recent and separate judgments against two hospitals that received penalties of more than $100 million because they determined bonus pools for doctors based in part on revenues from physician referrals. Halifax Hospital Medical Center, a nonprofit community hospital in Florida, received a penalty of $134 million for violating the Stark Law due to an agreement with six oncologists that varied based on the physicians' referrals to Halifax for designated health services. The second case involves a $277 million judgment against Tuomey Healthcare System in South Carolina for similar Stark law violations. Both hospitals did seek advice from outside counsel and were told the physician compensation agreements were legal, according to the article, which noted the rules are arcane and difficult to navigate .Article