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Stark Laws

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Stark Laws are a set of United States federal civil laws that prohibit physician self-referral, specifically a referral by a physician of a Medicare or Medicaid patient to an entity providing designated health services (DHS) if the physician (or his/her immediate family member) has a financial relationship with that entity.

Although the financial penalties may be even greater than with the Anti-Kickback Statute, these are non-criminal charges. Penalties for violations of Stark Law include denial of payment for the DHS provided; the refund of monies received by physicians and facilities for amounts collected; payment of civil penalties of up to $15,000 for each service that a person “knows or should know” was provided in violation of the law, and three times the amount of improper payment the entity received from the Medicare program; exclusion from the Medicare program and/or state healthcare programs including Medicaid; and payment of civil penalties for attempting to circumvent the law of up to $100,000 for each circumvention scheme.