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Analysis

Verma Hopes Stark Law Regulatory Update Will Come by Year's End

By Steven Porter  
   May 23, 2019

The CMS administrator says a team is working hard to hammer out details to alleviate concerns that the law can impede value-based care arrangements.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said she hopes the government's work to address Stark Law concerns raised by healthcare providers will result in a proposed regulation by the end of this year.

Verma, who set a similar expectation last year, made the comment during an in-person meeting Wednesday with reporters at the CMS office in Washington, D.C., where she noted that her team is working with representatives from the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) on a plan to loosen Stark's restrictions.

"The original concern with Stark is that providers would be referring their patients to other providers that they had a financial relationship with," Verma said, according to an audio recording CMS released online. "If you go to value-based care, where there's more capitation and that incentive isn't necessarily there—they're incentivized to manage cost—then you have to sort of rethink how Stark applies."

In a request for information last year, CMS asked for input on potential Stark tweaks. Many of those comments focused on the impact on value-based payment arrangements. Many also highlighted technical issues that add unnecessary bureaucracy and cost, Verma said.

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Steven Porter is an associate content manager and Strategy editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Photo credit: WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12, 2019: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES sign at headquarters building. - Image / Editorial credit: Jer123 / Shutterstock.com


KEY TAKEAWAYS

The proposal should address technical issues and costly bureaucracy alike, Seema Verma said.

An inter-agency team is working together in response to comments on an RFI from last year.

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