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Stark Law-Based FCA Lawsuits Multiply: Relators Targeting Physician Compensation

Summary of article from Davis Wright Tremaine, by Robert G. Homchick, Adam D. Romney, Gavin Keene:

Several health systems, including Community Health Network Inc., University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Erlanger Health System, and Steward Health Care System, have recently faced Stark Law-based False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuits. These lawsuits primarily focus on allegations of above fair market value compensation to physicians for referrals. The cases underscore the increased scrutiny of physician compensation practices and potential severe consequences of Stark Law violations. The trend suggests that health systems should reassess their risk levels arising from physician compensation practices. To mitigate risks, healthcare organizations should ensure fair and transparent compensation arrangements, implement effective compliance programs, take whistleblower claims seriously, and seek legal guidance to navigate Stark Law complexities.