The Stark Law blanket waivers published March 30, 2020—although effective back to March 1—give healthcare organizations greater flexibility in crafting financial arrangements with referring physicians and their immediate family members in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. In addition to supporting those physicians on the front lines caring for COVID-19 patients, the waivers permit healthcare organizations to “[a]ddress…medical practice or business interruption due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States in order to maintain the availability of medical care and related services for patients and the community.”
According to the March 30 document, a hospital relying on the blanket waivers “must make records relating to the use of the blanket waivers available to the Secretary upon request…. Although the blanket waivers…do not require the submission of specific documentation or notice to the Secretary or CMS in advance of their use, we encourage parties to develop and maintain records in a timely manner as a best practice.”
To assist healthcare organizations in generating appropriate documentation demonstrating a specific financial relationship is necessary “to maintain the availability of medical care and related services for patients and the community,” PYA has developed the following checklist (not all-inclusive) based on key considerations in providing financial support to physicians who may have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
If your organization answers “Yes” to most of these questions, there may be a sufficient record to help meet the documentation requirements under the Stark Law blanket waivers, with the express goal of maintaining appropriate physician resources for coverage and care provision in all specialties. Further, depending on a healthcare organization’s specific facts and circumstances, other documentation may be required, and some of the documentation suggested in the checklist may not be applicable. Ultimately, an organization should perform a thorough professional analysis (including appropriate legal review) before making any changes to a physician’s compensation.
If you have additional questions related to Stark Law blanket waivers and physician compensation, or need clarity on the latest COVID-19 guidance, visit our COVID-19 hub, or contact one of our PYA executives below at (800) 270-9629.
Disclaimer: To the best of our knowledge, this information was correct at the time of publication. Given the fluid situation, and with rapidly changing new guidance issued daily, be aware that some or all of this information may no longer apply. Please visit our COVID-19 hub frequently for the latest updates, as we are working diligently to put forth the most relevant helpful guidance as it becomes available.