WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) is taking action to simplify regulations governing physician self-referrals under the Medicare program.
Currently, the Physician Self-Referral Law, commonly referred to as Stark law, makes no distinction between technical and substantive violations, even when there has been no legitimate violation or harm to the Medicare program. Senator Perdue’s proposal would create an alternate self-disclosure path for unintentional, technical errors that will give health care providers more certainty and predictability. This will also free up Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) resources to pursue more egregious violations.
“For years, physicians in Georgia and across the country have been forced to operate under anti-competitive regulations, costing health care providers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually,” said Senator Perdue. “As a business guy, I know how critical it is to predict expenses when you’re operating on a budget. The overreaching Stark Law fails to distinguish minor technical errors from serious violations, resulting in costly unexpected fines. Rural health care providers simply cannot afford this uncertainty. It’s time to cut through this bureaucratic process so our health care providers can focus on caring for their patients and staying competitive.”
“The Georgia Hospital Association supports the efforts of Senator David Perdue to decrease the regulatory burden on health care providers with the introduction of the Stark Administrative Simplification Act,” said Earl Rogers, President and CEO of the Georgia Hospital Association. “Hospitals and physicians should not be subject to unpredictable financial penalties for inadvertent technical violations of complex regulatory requirements. Senator Perdue’s proposed legislation would provide a consistent course to addressing technical violations, encourage health care providers to self-disclose procedural issues, and create cost savings for the federal government.”
“We applaud Senator Perdue’s leadership on this important issue,” said Dr. Raj Garg, President and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. “Senator Perdue understands how thousands of pages of Stark regulations have become an anti-competitive anchor in health care and stifled innovation thereby reducing the quality of care available to patients and increasing costs to taxpayers. The Stark Administrative Simplification Act is an important first step to remove some of those obstacles and a foundation on which to build the further urgently needed Stark reforms.”
“The Medical Association of Georgia thanks and applauds Senator Perdue for his vision and leadership,” said Dr. Frank McDonald Jr., President of Medical Association of Georgia. “This legislation addresses Stark law in important ways, including giving physicians some much-needed certainty and peace of mind and reducing the need for them to carry large cash reserves while CMS makes decisions about the Self-Referral Disclosure Protocol.”