The Committee’s interest in the Stark Law and receptiveness to feedback from industry leaders may indicate that significant changes to the law are in the pipeline.
As the healthcare industry moves from a fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursement system for physicians to a value-based payment system, industry insiders are questioning whether the federal physician self-referral law and its implementing regulations (Stark Law) has outlived its usefulness, and their concerns may be picking up steam in the United States Senate. Opposition to the Stark Law is nothing new as stakeholders have argued for many years that the complexities of the law unduly interfere with the practice of medicine. CMS has acknowledged provider struggles with technical violations and revised its regulations in 2015 in an effort to ease this burden. The agency has also acknowledged that innovations in Medicare payment models and private payor arrangements that are designed to integrate physicians and hospitals can be difficult to achieve under the Stark Law. The Senate Finance Committee (Committee) has turned its attention to the Stark Law by engaging stakeholders in a discussion about these issues. The Committee’s recently released white paper describing the concerns of the industry may foreshadow significant changes to the law. Continue Reading