Stark Law Off the topic

Dear Histonetters:  There has been a lot of talk about the Stark Law but no one seems to know what exactly it is.
Enclosed is a website for those who want to know if the Stark Law applies to them, researchers and clinics.
To briefly sum up, it was enacted in 1989, amended in 1993, 2002.  It applies to 10 designated health services areas including the clinical lab services as well as to physicians, hospitals and other health care providers and organizations.
It is not a criminal law.  Its basic prohibitions are that physicians cannot make a referral to an entity for the furnishing of "designated health services" which may be payable by Medicare or Medicaid if the physician has a financial relationship with the entity.
This is maybe why lab people are not allowed to get prices from other labs as it may appear that the hospital is attempting to "fix" prices at a rate which does not reflect a fair market value for the testing or service at the asking hospital.  The law also states there is no need to prove intent to violate the law or to do something wrong.  Penalties may be imposed if violations are found.
Hope this helps,

Tom Kuwahara
Senior Immunohistochemist
San Francisco, CA

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