If you’re a healthcare provider or supplier, take note.
Starting June 1, 2017, there is a new process for self-reporting actual or potential violations of the Stark Law to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Remember, Stark says that doctors can’t refer certain, designated health services that are payable by Medicare or Medicaid to entities in which they have a financial interest. The same goes if an immediate family member is the one with the financial interest. The entity that receives the referral can’t bill for those services, either. But exceptions apply.
Why in the world would you self-report? Well, if there is discretion to keep you in the program, your cooperation will go a long way. You’ll pay less in penalties. You’ll reduce or eliminate your liability for not reporting and returning the overpayments sooner. And you’ll probably put the matter behind you more quickly than if the government gets wind of it.
Now, there’s a new way to do it. Up to this point, you would submit your self-disclosure to CMS by letter. From June 1, you must submit a packet of forms and enclosures that you certify. You should submit all information necessary for the agency to analyze the actual or potential violation. You may also submit a cover letter with additional, relevant information.
You’re well-advised not to do any of this without appropriate counsel.
The new protocol doesn’t apply to non-Stark-related disclosures of potential fraud, waste, or abuse involving a federal healthcare program.
So if you wish to disclose actual or potential violations of other laws like the Anti-Kickback Statute, you should use a separate process for it.
After you talk to your lawyer.