The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently negotiated its fourteenth settlement of a violation of the physician self-referral law (Stark Law). The violation was disclosed by a California hospital under the Self-Referral Disclosure Protocol (SRDP).
This latest settlement involved the hospital’s failure to satisfy the requirements of the “physician recruitment” exception to the Stark Law. CMS settled the violations with the hospital for $28,000.
The last SRDP settlement occurred in September and involved a Missouri hospital that disclosed that its arrangement with two physicians for the provision of certain dental services did not comply with Stark’s “personal services” exception. CMS settled that disclosure for $125,000.
Under the SRDP, providers may disclose actual or possible Stark law violations, for which the Secretary of HHS is authorized to reduce the penalties. Settlement amounts have ranged anywhere from $60 for an Ohio physician group practice to $579,000 for an acute care hospital in Massachusetts.
According to a report HHS submitted to Congress in March 2012, CMS has received 150 disclosures from 148 providers since the SRDP implementation. As of the date of the report, there 51 disclosures still under review, and CMS was awaiting additional documentation for 61 additional disclosures.
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