Violation of the Stark Law, which prohibits medical providers’ self-referral, is being applied in the Halifax case in Florida. This case could set an example of what such violations may bring to medical providers violating the law either intentionally or by the deliberate ostrich method of sticking their heads in the sand.
This week the Federal Judge issued a Order that could result in tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars due to be repaid by the defendant hospital. The Judge’s Order noted:
“During the time period when the Incentive Bonus was being paid, the compensation arrangement between Halifax Staffing and the Medical Oncologists did not satisfy the requirements for the bona fide employment exception [to the Stark Law]. As a result, the Medical Oncologists were prohibited from making referrals to Halifax Hospital for DHS, and Halifax Hospital was prohibited from submitting Medicare claims for services furnished pursuant to such referrals….
“….Thus the Court concludes that the claims forms relied on by the Government are evidence of referrals for DHS made by the Medical Oncologists during the time period the Incentive Bonus was in effect, thereby violating the Stark Law. 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn(a)(1). By the same token, the claims forms are evidence that Halifax Hospital submitted claims to Medicare for the DHS furnished pursuant to such referrals, also in violation of the Stark Law. 42 U.S.C. § 1395nn(a)(2). The Defendants have not presented any evidence to the contrary. As the Government’s evidence on this point is undisputed, the Government has established that Halifax Hospital violated the Stark Law.”