On July 25, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved bipartisan legislation, HR 3178, the Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017. The legislation includes multiple provisions, one of which originated in previously introduced legislation to address elements of Medicare’s “Stark” law on physician self-referral.
The Stark changes incorporated into HR 3178 come from the “Stark Administrative Simplification Act of 2017,” which had been introduced in early July by Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI). Kind has been a lead co-author since 2013 of previous versions of this legislation to address technical noncompliance situations under Stark.
The Stark-related provisions in HR 3178 provide clarification and simplification for these technical violations, such as an inadvertent missing signature. Under the legislation, if within 90 days of a violation the required signatures are obtained and all other criteria are met, the signature requirement shall be considered met. The legislation also addresses situations with holdover arrangements.
The Wisconsin Hospital Association appreciates Rep. Kind’s ongoing efforts to advance these commonsense, Stark-related modernization provisions.