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What is the Stark Law?

No matter how large your medical knowledge may be, it is easy to get confused about the legalities of certain financial situations. Some issues, including kickbacks and self-referrals, can create legal challenges. The Stark Law in particular is important to be aware of as a medical professional. 

According to FindLaw, the Stark Law details what guidelines are acceptable in the medical fields when it comes to recommending other professionals to patients. There are many instances where doctors could potentially make a profit off of patients who come to them for medical advice, and therefore having specific rules for what is legal or not legal is imperative.

By prohibiting certain actions, this law clarifies what a professional may do when referring patients. This statute is a strict liability statute, which means that intent is not taken into account when looking at the person’s actions. Even if you mistakenly break the law, it does not mean you will not be at fault. 

Conflicts of interest are perhaps the most typical problem addressed by this law. You are not allowed to place your own potential or your immediate family’s potential for financial gain above choosing the best professional for a situation.

Your advice should not contain influence from a hidden goal, such as added monetary benefit from extra procedures or tests. In order to prevent fraud, all designated health services such as radiology, prosthetic, physical therapy referrals, and laboratory services, will be under scrutiny. 

Learning about the Stark Law can prevent future mishaps and breaches of trust with your patients.