Thirty-one professional associations of physicians are urging Congress not to end the “in-office ancillary services exception” to the Stark Law’s general prohibition against referring Medicare patients to services when the referring physician has a financial interest in the services. The coalition, which includes the AMA and the Colleges of Surgeons and Cardiology, sent a joint letter to three congressional committees with jurisdiction over federal health care programs.
Without the exception, physicians could not provide certain services, such as imaging and physical therapy, in their own offices. The coalition’s concern is sparked by a number of threats to end the in-office exception, including a proposal in the President’s 2015 budget and a bill introduced by Rep. Speier.
The coalition’s letter emphasizes that in-office services are convenient to patients and cost less than services provided by hospitals.