Hospitals Modify Some Arrangements Without Stark Waiver; Exceptions Are ‘Preferable’

Cosmos – Report on Medicare Compliance Volume 29, Number 37. October 19, 2020

Hospitals Modify Some Arrangements Without Stark Waiver; Exceptions Are ‘Preferable’
Written By: Nina Youngstrom

Some hospitals are giving free or discounted telehealth equipment to physician practices to promote telehealth visits with patients, protected by the blanket waivers of the Stark Law during the COVID-19 public health emergency.[1] While telehealth equipment is a good candidate for the waivers, hospitals might want to anticipate the aftermath, when the public health emergency ends and the waivers expire, because they probably won’t be able to provide the equipment at no charge, an attorney said.

“Once the telehealth platform is rolled out, doctors will get used to it,” said attorney Victoria Sheridan, with Epstein Becker & Green in Newark, New Jersey, at an Oct. 14 webinar sponsored by the Health Care Compliance Association.[2] When the waivers end, will hospitals offer the equipment to them at fair market value? That option could be written into the arrangement up front to avoid having to reinvent the wheel if hospitals agree to provide the equipment at modified terms after the pandemic. “Think about what your file needs to look like so if I’m using a waiver, I can potentially avoid compliance concerns down the road,” Sheridan advised.

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