Bill would remove in-office exemption from Stark law

By staff writers

April 28, 2016 -- Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Congress that would eliminate the exemption for a number of healthcare services -- including advanced diagnostic imaging -- from anti-self-referral provisions of the Stark law.

The Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act (PIMA), or HR 5088, would prevent physicians from referring patients to ancillary medical services in which they have an ownership interest, even if the services are provided in their own offices. The bill would act as a correction to the Stark law, which includes an in-office exception to this practice. HR 5088 was introduced by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), along with Reps. Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Dina Titus (D-NV).

HR 5088 would restore the original intent of the Stark law by prohibiting self-referral for advanced imaging, anatomic pathology, radiation therapy, and physical therapy, according to Speier.

"This is a golden opportunity to put patient health and program health over profits," she said in a statement. "This bill will save taxpayers money and help seniors who depend on Medicare for their quality of life."

The bill is Speier's third attempt at closing the in-office exception for ancillary services. In 2013, she introduced a similar bill, and in 2011, she introduced the Integrity in Medicare Advanced Diagnostic Imaging Act (HR 1476). Neither advanced past the committee stage.

Copyright © 2016

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