On February 5, 2009, the New Jersey Assembly passed Senate Bill 787, which amends the Physician Self-Referral Law. The bill is headed to Gov. Jon Corzine to be signed into law. As reported in a previous issue of the Pulse, the bill adds restrictions for licensure of new ambulatory care facilities (ACFs), single room surgical facilities, facilities jointly or solely owned by a hospital and transfers of ownership or relocation of existing ACFs. Surgical practices will be required to register with HSS within one year of the effective date of the law and will be subject to annual reporting requirements. As a requirement of registration, a surgical practice will be required to obtain certification, as an ACF provider, by CMS or an accrediting body recognized by CMS. In addition, existing ACFs will be required to obtain ambulatory care accreditation within one year of the law’s effective date, and new ACFs must be accredited as a condition of HSS licensure.
Significantly, the bill removes the statutory exception for physician self-referrals to radiation therapy and lithotripsy services for the first time since the Physician Self-Referral Law was enacted in 1991. Only practitioners who currently, or within one year from the date of enactment of the bill, will have a significant beneficial interest in radiation therapy or lithotripsy services will be permitted to continue to refer patients to those services, provided they comply with the bill’s disclosure requirements.