COVID-19 Stark Regulation Waivers

Posted on
July 8, 2020

COVID-19 Spotlight: Stark Regulation Waivers

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It's important to understand that these waivers don't impact the vast majority of provisions within Stark and fraud of any kind is still prohibited. So understanding what you can and you can't do under the blanket waivers is key. Note that the intention of CMS is to make it easier on providers to act quickly and nimbly to respond to the pandemic and not to relax Stark, per se.  Because if you're working at or advising health care organizations right now, you know firsthand that organizations are amending existing contracts or even arranging new ones fast to address COVID.

So, the first thing you need to know is the waivers cover arrangements retro to March one 2020 and are only in effect as long as there's a public health emergency. New arrangements or payments that fall under these waivers must be solely related to COVID-19. All arrangements do need to have a limited timeframe and scope.

Second, you don't want to stop tracking physician time activities or payments just because this is a global health crisis. Any and all records must be available and accessible to prove that payments aren't fraudulent, and you need to keep and maintain those records.

Lastly, and this is something everyone's been wondering about; payment may exceed or fall below fair market value, but only for arrangements that are related to the COVID response.