On June 20, 2018, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a request for public comment on how to address the regulatory impact and burden of the physician self-referral law known as Stark Law. LUGPA issued the following statement.
LUGPA commends CMS for its efforts to address the barriers created by outdated Stark and anti-kickback laws that prevent physicians from developing value-based care models in line with the transition to a value-based care system. We appreciate CMS’ growing recognition of the challenges independent physicians face under current Stark Law regulations, but we continue to emphasize that the Law’s fundamental problems will require Congressional action. First and foremost, Congress must alleviate the obsolete “volume or value” provisions in Stark Law that serve as obstacles to the development of alternative payment models for physicians attempting to transition to value-based care.
As part of our ongoing efforts, LUGPA leads a coalition of 25 physician-focused healthcare organizations that represent more than 500,000 physicians, that is promoting the adoption of the Medicare Care Coordination Improvement Act (H.R. 4206, S. 2051). This legislation was introduced with bipartisan support in both the United States Senate and House of Representatives and would remove barriers to participating in value-based care. It does so by extending Stark waivers already granted to hospitals under the Affordable Care Act to independent physician practices, which have been identified as the site for highest quality and lowest cost site of service in ACOs. In addition, this legislation will allow providers to develop and test novel value-based payment paradigms while simultaneously preserving patient protections in fee-for-service models.
We applaud CMS for recognizing this issue and urge Congress to swiftly enact H.R. 4206 and S. 2051 to remove statutory hurdles that will help federal agencies tackle the regulatory burdens hampering the development and implementation of value-based care models. It is time to reform the decades old statutes in order to accommodate current health care policy mandates. LUGPA will continue to work with legislators and CMS to implement the critical changes required to lessen the regulatory burden on independent practices and level the playing field between all healthcare providers, which will ensure that patients have access to high quality integrated care at the location of their choosing.