The Stark Law prohibits medical physicians from referring clients to other clinics or hospitals in which they have a financial interest. This is a strict liability statute, meaning that there is no need to show that the physician acted intentionally or with knowledge in order to hold them liable. Stark Law violations can sometimes form the basis for False Claims Act litigation.
The Stark Law was created with the intention of preventing physicians from profiting off their own referrals. Thus, the effect of the Stark Law is to prevent and reduce the occurrence of what is called “physician self-referral”. Self-referral is thought to reduce the quality of health care and can lead to potential mistreatment and medical malpractice claims.
Penalties for violating the Stark Law involve fines similar to those for white collar crimes. Stark Law violations will typically involve a fine imposed on the liable physician.
Penalties can be very costly, and may include:
Stark Law penalties can apply to both the physician that is making the illegal referrals, as well as the organization that received the referrals. Penalties may increase if the parties knowingly act together to “circumvent” or avoid Stark Law requirements.
Stark Law violations can often be difficult to defend against since the law is a strict liability rule. You may need to hire a qualified lawyer in your area if you need assistance with any matters involving the Stark Law. Your attorney can provide you with legal guidance in the event that you need to make an appearance in court. Or, if you need to report a Stark Law violation, a lawyer can provide assistance with your claim.
Last Modified: 02-22-2013 03:52 PM PSTLaw Library Disclaimer
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