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    Comparison Chart of Anti-Kickback Safe Harbors and Stark Exceptions -- Physician/Practitioner Recruitment

    Physician/Practitioner Recruitment – Current as of November 2017

    Stark
    Stark exception to the referral prohibition related to compensation arrangements for physician recruitment Click the above link see how this section was amended in January 2016.  Amendments also are incorporated below. 

    Anti-Kickback
    Safe harbor for payments by an entity to induce a practitioner to relocate a practice into a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) for his/her specialty area

    The remuneration, provided by a hospital to recruit a physician, is paid directly to the physician and is intended to induce the physician to relocate his or her medical practice to the geographic area served by the hospital

     

    The payments are to induce a practitioner who has been practicing within his or her current specialty for less than one year to locate, or to induce any other practitioner to relocate, his or her primary place of practice into a HPSA for his or her specialty area that is served by the entity.

    The arrangement is set out in writing and signed by both parties.

    The arrangement is set forth in a written agreement signed by the parties that specifies the benefits provided by the entity, the terms under which the benefits are to be provided, and the obligations of each party.

    The arrangement is not conditioned on the physician's referral of patients to the hospital.

    If a practitioner is leaving an established practice, at least 75 percent of the revenues of the new practice must be generated from new patients not previously seen by the practitioner at his or her former practice.

    The amount of remuneration under the arrangement is not determined in a manner that takes into account the volume or value of any actual or anticipated referrals by the physician or other business generated between the parties.

    The benefits are provided by the entity for a period not in excess of 3 years, and the terms of the agreement are not renegotiated during this 3-year period in any substantial aspect; provided, however, that if the HPSA to which the practitioner was recruited ceases to be a HPSA during the term of the written agreement, the payments made under the written agreement will continue to satisfy this paragraph for the duration of the written agreement (not to exceed 3 years).

    The physician is allowed to establish staff privileges at any other hospital(s) and to refer business to any other entities (except as referrals may be restricted under a separate employment or services arrangement that complies with the personal service arrangement exception.

    There is no requirement that the practitioner make referrals to, be in a position to make or influence referrals to, or otherwise generate business for the entity as a condition for receiving the benefits; provided, however, that for purposes of this paragraph, the entity may require as a condition for receiving benefits that the practitioner maintain staff privileges at the entity.

    Recruitment of a physician by a hospital located in a rural area to an area outside the geographic area served by the hospital is permitted under this exception if the Secretary of HHS determines in an advisory opinion that the area has a demonstrated need for the recruited physician and all other requirements for recruiting are met.

     

    The “geographic area served by the hospital” is the area composed of the lowest number of contiguous zip codes from which the hospital draws at least 75 percent of its inpatients. The geographic area served by the hospital may include one or more zip codes from which the hospital draws no inpatients, provided that such zip codes are entirely surrounded by zip codes in the geographic area described above from which the hospital draws at least 75 percent of its inpatients.

    With respect to a hospital that draws fewer than 75 percent of its inpatients from all of the contiguous zip codes from which it draws inpatients, the “geographic area served by the hospital” will be deemed to be the area composed of all of the contiguous zip codes from which the hospital draws its inpatients.

    Special optional rule for rural hospitals. In the case of a hospital located in a rural area, the “geographic area served by the hospital” may also be the area composed of the lowest number of contiguous zip codes from which the hospital draws at least 90 percent of its inpatients. If the hospital draws fewer than 90 percent of its inpatients from all of the contiguous zip codes from which it draws inpatients, the “geographic area served by the hospital” may include noncontiguous zip codes, beginning with the noncontiguous zip code in which the highest percentage of the hospital's inpatients resides, and continuing to add noncontiguous zip codes in decreasing order of percentage of inpatients.

    A physician will be considered to have relocated his or her medical practice if the medical practice was located outside the geographic area served by the hospital and—(A) The physician moves his or her medical practice at least 25 miles and into the geographic area served by the hospital; or (B) The physician moves his medical practice into the geographic area served by the hospital, and the physician's new medical practice derives at least 75 percent of its revenues from professional services furnished to patients (including hospital inpatients) not seen or treated by the physician at his or her prior medical practice site during the preceding 3 years, measured on an annual basis (fiscal or calendar year). For the initial “start up” year of the recruited physician's practice, the 75 percent test in the preceding sentence will be satisfied if there is a reasonable expectation that the recruited physician's medical practice for the year will derive at least 75 percent of its revenues from professional services furnished to patients not seen or treated by the physician at his or her prior medical practice site during the preceding 3 years.

     

    The recruited physician will not be subject to the relocation requirements of this section, provided that he or she establishes his or her medical practice in the geographic area served by the recruiting hospital, if— (i) He or she is a resident or physician who has been in practice 1 year or less; (ii) He or she was employed on a full-time basis for at least 2 years immediately prior to the recruitment arrangement by one of the following (and did not maintain a private practice in addition to such full-time employment): (A) A Federal or State bureau of prisons (or similar entity operating one or more correctional facilities) to serve a prison population; (B) The Department of Defense or Department of Veterans Affairs to serve active or veteran military personnel and their families; or (C) A facility of the Indian Health Service to serve patients who receive medical care exclusively through the Indian Health Service; or (iii) The Secretary has deemed in an advisory opinion issued under section 1877(g) of the Act that the physician does not have an established medical practice that serves or could serve a significant number of patients who are or could become patients of the recruiting hospital.

     

    In the case of remuneration provided by a hospital to a physician either indirectly through payments made to another physician practice, or directly to a physician who joins a physician practice, the following additional conditions must be met:

    (a) the writing also signed by the party to whom the payments are directly made;

    (b) except for actual costs incurred by the physician practice in recruiting the new physician, the remuneration is passed directly through to or remains with the recruited physician;

    (c) in the case of an income guarantee of any type made by the hospital to a recruited physician who joins a physician practice, the costs allocated by the physician practice to the recruited physician do not exceed the actual additional incremental costs attributable to the recruited physician. With respect to a physician recruited to join a physician practice located in a rural area or HPSA, if the physician is recruited to replace a physician who, within the previous 12-month period, retired, relocated outside of the geographic area served by the hospital, or died, the costs allocated by the physician practice to the recruited physician do not exceed either-- (1) the actual additional incremental costs attributable to the recruited physician; or (2) the lower of a per capita allocation or 20 percent of the practice's aggregate costs;

    (d) records of the actual costs and the passed-through amounts are maintained for a period of at least 5 years and made available to the Secretary of HHS upon request;

    (e) the remuneration from the hospital under the arrangement is not determined in a manner that takes into account (directly or indirectly) the volume or value of any actual or anticipated referrals by the recruited physician or the physician practice (or any physician affiliated with the physician practice) receiving the direct payments from the hospital;

    (f) the physician practice may not impose on the recruited physician practice restrictions that unreasonably restrict the recruited physician's ability to practice medicine in the geographic area served by the hospital; and

    (g) the arrangement does not violate the anti-kickback statute or any Federal or State law or regulation governing billing or claims submission.

    The practitioner is not restricted from establishing staff privileges at, referring any service to, or otherwise generating any business for any other entity of his or her choosing.

    These requirements apply to remuneration provided by a federally qualified health center or a rural health clinic in the same manner as it applies to remuneration provided by a hospital, provided that the arrangement does not violate the anti-kickback statute or any Federal or State law or regulation governing billing or claims submission.  The "geographic area served'' by a federally qualified health center or a rural health clinic is the area composed of the lowest number of contiguous or noncontiguous zip codes from which the federally qualified health center or rural health clinic draws at least 90 percent of its patients, as determined on an encounter basis. The geographic area served by the federally qualified health center or rural health clinic may include one or more zip codes from which the federally qualified health center or rural health clinic draws no patients, provided that such zip codes are entirely surrounded by zip codes in the geographic area described above from which the federally qualified health center or rural health clinic draws at least 90 percent of its patients.

     

     

    The amount or value of the benefits provided by the entity may not vary (or be adjusted or renegotiated) in any manner based on the volume or value of any expected referrals to or business otherwise generated for the entity by the practitioner for which payment may be made in whole or in part under Medicare, Medicaid or any other Federal health care programs.

     

    The practitioner agrees to treat patients receiving medical benefits or assistance under any Federal health care program in a nondiscriminatory manner.

     

    At least 75 percent of the revenues of the new practice must be generated from patients residing in a HPSA or a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) or who are part of a Medically Underserved Population (MUP).

     

    The payment or exchange of anything of value may not directly or indirectly benefit any person (other than the practitioner being recruited) or entity in a position to make or influence referrals to the entity providing the recruitment payments or benefits of items or services payable by a Federal health care program.