Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Physician Self-Referral Law

On July 12, the Senate Committee on Finance held a bipartisan hearing titled "Examining the Stark Law: Current Issues and Opportunities." The hearing follows a committee white paper released last month detailing stakeholder input on ways to improve the law. ACC Advocacy developed and submitted principles related to any policy changes in this area, which stressed an overall need for simplification, to reduce the exorbitant legal fees and administrative burdens currently imposed on clinicians, as well as revisions to distinguish between willful and inadvertent violations of the law.

At the hearing, Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said, "The Stark Law was designed in an era when fee-for-service was Medicare's primary payment model. But now, as providers move to alternative payment models, the law presents practical and outdated barriers in need of updating." Hatch said the committee plans to take action before the end of the year.

Keywords: Fee-for-Service Plans, Fees and Charges, Medicare, Physician Self-Referral

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