QUESTION: I thought I saw something recently about the Stark and Safe Harbor Regulations being changed? Did I hallucinate after eating too much Halloween candy?
ANSWER: Well, you may have been hallucinating, but it wasn’t about the Stark and Safe Harbor Regulations. On October 9, 2019, CMS issued a proposed rule to modernize and clarify the Stark regulations and, at the same time, the OIG published proposed amendments to the Anti-Kickback Safe Harbor regulations. Comments will be accepted through December 31, 2019.
The proposed amendments to the Stark regulations would:
- create new, permanent exceptions to the Stark Law for value-based arrangements;
- solicit comments about the role of price transparency in the context of the Stark Law and whether to require cost-of-care information at the point of a referral for an item or service;
- provide additional guidance on several key requirements that must often be met in order for physicians and healthcare providers to comply with the Stark Law, including how to determine if compensation is at fair market value;
- provide guidance on a wide range of other technical compliance issues; and
- propose a new Stark exception for donations of certain cybersecurity technology.
The revisions proposed by the OIG to the Anti-Kickback safe harbors apply to certain coordinated care and associated value-based arrangements between or among clinicians, providers, suppliers, and others and add protections under the anti-kickback statute and civil monetary penalty (“CMP”) law that prohibit inducements offered to patients for certain patient engagement and support arrangements to improve quality of care, health outcomes, and efficiency of care.
The proposed rule would add a new safe harbor for donations of cybersecurity technology and amend the existing safe harbors for electronic health records (“EHR”) arrangements, warranties, local transportation, and personal services and management contracts. The proposed rule would also add a new safe harbor related to beneficiary incentives under the Medicare Shared Savings Program and a new CMP exception for certain telehealth technologies offered to patients receiving in-home dialysis.
Do you want to know more? HortySpringer partners Henry Casale and Dan Mulholland went over these proposals in detail earlier this month in a Special Audio Conference and told everyone what they should be doing right now to get ready for them. You can order a recording of that audio conference here.