AAFP's journal Family Practice Management has answered many questions about anti-kickback laws and Stark regulation. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions based on FPM's information.
The anti-kickback statute makes it illegal for providers (including physicians) to knowingly and willfully accept bribes or other forms of remuneration in return for generating Medicare, Medicaid or other federal health care program business.
A physician cannot offer anything of value to induce federal health care program business. The anti-kickback statute has been revised to allow exceptions or safe harbors.
Safe harbors include:
Stark II is Phase II of the law that prohibits physician self-referrals.
The law applies to any physician who provides care to Medicare, Medicaid or other federal health program recipients and says that the physician cannot refer the patient for certain designated health services to any entity with which the physician has a financial interest. That is, unless one of Stark's exceptions apply.
Stark III is actually Stark II, Phase III of the physician self-referral prohibition. This regulation provides further clarifications and modifications to Stark II, Phase II, especially regarding physicians in group practice and the relationships between physicians and hospitals.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provided a partial listing of Phase III changes in the final rule published in the Federal Register of September 5, 2007(edocket.access.gpo.gov).
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Anti-kickback & Stark Compliance