On July 12 the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing, which was attended by AASM staff, to examine ways to improve and reform the physician self-referral “Stark” Law. Testimony was provided on how the Stark Law has become increasingly unnecessary for, and a significant impediment to, value-based payment models that Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be requiring.

Testimony at the hearing was provided by Mr. Troy A. Barsky, Partner, Crowell & Moring LLP, Washington, DC; Ronald A. Paulus, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mission Health, Asheville, NC; and Mr. Peter Mancino, Deputy General Counsel, The Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation. The objective of the hearing was to obtain additional feedback on the Stark issue so that the Committee can start developing legislative language in the fall for exceptions to the Stark Law. AASM will be meeting with legislators over the next few months to discuss the need to establish a Stark exception for sleep medicine.

Recently, the Senate Finance Committee also released a white paper examining potential reforms to the Stark Law. Titled, “Why Stark, Why Now? Suggestions to Improve the Stark Law to Encourage Innovative Payment Models,” the white paper summarizes the stakeholder perspectives on potential changes to the Stark Law, describing the need to remove hurdles to implementing health care reform and distinguish technical and substantive violations.

Late last year the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Committee on Ways and Means invited a group of experts to participate in a round table discussion on the issues related to the Stark Law. Participants were asked to specifically focus on (1) changes to the Stark Law to implement health care reform, specifically MACRA, and (2) the distinction between technical and substantive violations.

Learn more about the need for a Stark exception for sleep medicine on the AASM website and consider making a donation to the AASM Political Action Committee (PAC) to support this advocacy initiative.

The AASM will continue to keep members posted as we meet with legislators to discuss the need to establish a Stark exception for sleep medicine, and we will provide more direction on how you can become involved by contacting your representatives.