The Digestive Health Physicians Association has submitted a comment letter in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Request for Information on the Physician Self-Referral (Stark) law.
DHPA is committed to ensuring that independent GI practices across the country can participate in alternative payment models (APMs) and other novel financial arrangements that deliver better and more coordinated care for Medicare beneficiaries and other patients. Unfortunately, this is hampered by the lack of protection under the Stark Law for physicians seeking to participate in these new value-based payment arrangements.
In its comment letter, DHPA writes that the effort to reform Stark will require collaboration by Congress, HHS and CMS in striking a balance between statutory changes that must be made through legislative action and regulatory changes that can be made by CMS through its existing regulatory authority.
The letter describes two specific examples of APMs that DHPA member practices were instrumental in developing but were blocked, in part, because of challenges with the Stark Law. In addition, the letter focuses on the significant ways in which CMS, through its existing regulatory authority, can create greater flexibility under the Stark Law to enable independent gastroenterology (and other specialty) practices to participate more fully in value-based payment models. Lastly, the comment letter calls for three modifications to the Stark statute that are at the heart of the bipartisan Medicare Care Coordination Improvement Act pending in Congress.
Those modifications include:
- Waivers to promote care coordination by facilitating participation in APMs;
- Promoting care coordination through expansion of administrative authority to provide exceptions to the Stark Law’s physician ownership and compensation arrangement prohibitions; and
- A new statutory exception to the Stark Law to facilitate the development and operation of APMs.
Click here to read the full comment letter.