Updated: Mar 15, 2019
By: Harris Meyer
The 1989 Stark Law penalizing physicians and hospitals for making medical decisions for patients based on their financial self-interest has few remaining fans. Even its author, former California Democratic Rep. Pete Stark, has called for repealing the law, which has metastasized in complexity over 30 years.
Now the Trump administration, backed by provider groups, is poised to make what CMS Administrator Seema Verma called “the most significant changes to the Stark law since its inception.”
Administration officials argue that the law, written at a time when fee-for-service payment was dominant, hampers alternative payment models that encourage providers to deliver better-quality, lower-cost care. “In a system where we’re paying for value, where the provider is ideally taking on some risk for outcomes and cost overruns, we don’t have nearly as much need to interfere with who’s getting paid for each service,” Deputy HHS Secretary Eric Hargan said in January.