Stark rule revision released

It's another chapter in the continuing drama which is the evolution of Stark law provisions. This week, the key player is CMS, which has posted a final rule to its Web site which interprets Stark law requirements governing referrals physicians make to facilities in which they have a financial interest.

The new rule, known as "Phase 3," includes a few significant changes. One that has grabbed the attention of lawyers is the issue of how payment to professional corporations is handled. In the past, payment to such corporations has fallen under a relatively broad Stark exception, since it was considered to be "indirect compensation."  Now, many arrangements under which payments were considered indirect will be seen as direct by CMS, making it far less likely providers can get away with them under stark. (The current rules do grandfather in current contracts, allowing them to run their course before making any needed restructuring.)

To learn more about the Stark changes:
- read this Modern Healthcare item (reg. req.)
- read CMS's final rule (.pdf)

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