On July 24th, Representative Pete Stark (D- CA) introduced an amendment to The Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007 that would eliminate the whole hospital exception in the Federal physician self-referral law, otherwise known as the Stark Law.
Specifically, Section 651 of The Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007 would eliminate the whole hospital exception in the Stark Law which would result in physicians being prohibited from referring Medicare patients to hospitals in which they have ownership interest. This amendment would apply to all hospitals, and not only physician-owned specialty hospitals. However, the amendment would grandfather hospitals that were in operation with Medicare provider agreements as of the date of introduction of the bill which is July 24, 2007.
Grandfathered hospitals would be required to meet certain standards within 18 months of enactment such as:
(1) and increased after the date of enactment of section 651;
(2) The hospital submits an annual report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding the identify and nature of each physician owner and any other owners;
(3) The hospital requires any physician owner to disclose to the patient being referred the ownership interest of such referring physician and of the treating physician;
(4) Requiring that physician owners in the aggregate do not own more than 40 percent of the total value of the investment interests held in the hospital; and
(5) The investment interest of any individual physician owner does not exceed 2 percent of the total value of the investment interests held in the hospital.
The full text of Bill with Representative Pete Stark’s amendment in section 651 may be obtained at the House Ways and Means Committee website: