The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) finalized amendments to the Physician Self-Referral Law (Stark) and Anti-Kickback Statute regulations (the Regulations) on December 27, 2013, regarding the donation of electronic health records (EHR) systems. Among other important changes, CMS and the OIG extended the Regulations, which were originally scheduled to “sunset” on December 31, 2013, to December 31, 2021.
The extension of the sunset period became effective December 31, 2013; all other changes to the Regulations will be effective on March 27, 2014.
Since their adoption in 2006, the Regulations have enabled hospitals and other providers and suppliers to subsidize up to 85 percent of the costs of EHR software and/or information technology and training services that are necessary and used “predominately” to create, maintain, transmit or receive electronic health records.
Key changes and clarifications in the Regulations include:
The extension of the Regulations to December 31, 2021 is welcome news for those (non-laboratory) providers and suppliers that wish to maintain their existing EHR donation programs or commence new programs. Together with the financial incentives offered under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, the Regulations should facilitate the continued adoption of EHR systems for some time.