Stark Penalties Stink: What to Watch Out For

Stark Penalties Stink: What to Watch Out For

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    In today’s video, we return to the topic of Stark Law to discuss what some of the penalties for violating Stark Law are. Now, if you’ve watched some of our previous videos you’ll remember that Stark Law deals with conflicts of interest for physicians and healthcare practitioners.

    And many of our clients have asked us what would happen if one of these laws were violated. Well, today we’re getting into it.

    I’m Michael H. Cohen, founding attorney of the Cohen Healthcare Law Group. We’ve advised over a thousand healthcare industry clients on healthcare and FDA legal issues. Today, I’m going to walk you through a few of the possible penalties that a healthcare business might face for breaking the Stark rules. By the end of this video, you’ll know just how serious a Stark Law violation can be.

    One penalty a physician who illegal refers could face for breaking Stark Law, on top of having to refund any payments received, is to get a $15,000 fine for EACH service that the physician knew was being improperly billed. You can see how quickly this would add up for many instances. Most people who knowingly break the law with illegal referrals do so more than once, so it’s going to be a lot of fines for them.

    In addition to that, they can also be fined up to $100,000 for entering into an arrangement with other physicians or entities for the purpose of making referrals in violation of Stark Law.

    Furthermore, Medicare or Medicaid will refuse to pay a physician for services that have been rendered in violation of Stark Law. In fact, the Medicare and Medicaid penalties don’t apply only to a past services a physician has performed, but also to future ones. Those physicians and entities that violate Stark can be excluded from participating in Medicare and Medicaid anymore. You can imagine how difficult it would be for any healthcare business to operate under those conditions.

    As you can now see, the penalties for Stark Law violations can be very severe, so any physician or healthcare practitioner making referrals where there is an element of personal interest involved has to be very careful to abide by the law. An experienced healthcare attorney can advise you on the particulars of your situation, and help reduce or mitigate your legal risk by advising you what kinds of practices are exceptions and what kinds don’t fall into exceptions.

    Thanks for watching. Here’s to the success of your healthcare venture, we look forward to speaking with you soon.


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