Stark Law's new physician exception: 5 things to know 

A new federal law has updated Stark Law and anti-kickback statute exceptions for physician wellness programs, according to an April 11 article in JDSupra from the law firm Maynard Nexsen. 

Here's what to know about the new exceptions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed into law Dec. 29:

1. The Stark Law exception allows healthcare entities to offer mental health programs to physicians for the primary purpose of preventing suicide. 

2. Programs must be offered by an entity with a formal medical staff, such as a hospital, ASC, community health center or rural health clinic. 

3. The program must be offered to all physicians who practice in the geographic area served by the provider without regard to value of referrals or other business generated by a physician.

4. The provider must also develop a written policy that describes the program, including content, duration and evidence-based support, as well as a method for evaluating the program's success. 

5. The anti-kickback exception mirrors the Stark Law exception, the article said, but also applies to other clinicians and does not statutorily apply to rural health clinics. 

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