How to protect against Stark whistle-blower lawsuits
Get advice from lawyers who are experts in the field.
Mind your exceptions There are about two-dozen specific exceptions for buying patient referrals, including some that allow fair-market payments for staff doctors who refer patients.
Make sure you meet every condition of the Stark exception.
Hire an expert valuator Make sure you are paying fairmarket value for physician services. Relying solely on published salary lists for medical specialties is not enough.
Form a compliance department Make sure compliance officials report directly to the board or the CEO, not the legal department.
Conduct exit interviews Find out if employees are leaving because they don’t like what they were asked to do.
Watch what you say in e-mails
Have legitimate reasons for hiring doctors If it’s to fill gaps in coverage to better serve the community, that’s fine. If it’s to gain referrals, that could be a Stark violation.
Automate, track and update physician contracts
Have a formal system for investigating and resolving employee complaints
Self-report If a violation is documented, don’t wait for a whistle-blower lawsuit. Medicare may accept repayment of funds. Or selfreporting can help speed up the resolution process and gain leniency.