CMS to form interagency group to review Stark Law: 4 things to know

CMS will form an interagency group to examine the regulatory barriers of Stark Law, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said during a recent American Hospital Association Town Hall webcast.

Here are four things to know.

1. Ms. Verma said Stark Law was one of the top concerns raised by physicians in response to requests for information on how CMS could reduce regulatory burden.

2. Many in the healthcare industry believe Stark Law, which was enacted more than two decades ago to curb physician self-referral, needs to be updated to accommodate for the broad reimbursement changes taking place in healthcare. During the webcast, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said Stark Law "presents significant barriers to the implementation of these new innovative models that reward coordination and reward value."

3. Ms. Verma said CMS, HHS' Office of Inspector General, HHS General Counsel and the Department of Justice will work together to address physicians' Stark Law concerns, but full relief from Stark Law may require congressional intervention.

"I think the Stark Law was developed a long time ago, and given where we're going in terms of modernizing [Medicare] and the payment systems we are operating under now, we need to bring along some of those regulations," she said.

4. Physicians, hospital executives and some lawmakers have been calling for changes to Stark Law for years. During a Senate Finance Committee hearing in July 2016, Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Stark Law has become too complex, creating obstacles in the transition from the fee-for-service model.

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