Q&A: Steering clear of Stark

January 9, 2009

Several colleagues and I would like to open a diagnostic center with lab, CT, MRI, and X-ray capabilities. We are all independent primary care practitioners in separate offices. How can we do this and avoid Stark Law violations?

Q: Several colleagues and I would like to open a diagnostic center with lab, CT, MRI, and X-ray capabilities. We are all independent primary care practitioners in separate offices. How can we do this and avoid Stark Law violations?

A: The simple answer is that you can't do this without avoiding Stark unless you merge into a single practice and include these services within that practice. Once Stark becomes an issue, there are a variety of methods to try to avoid its prohibitions, including attempting to fall within one or more safe harbors under the law. However, all of these methods are quite complex and defy quick and easy explanation. Anytime you begin an initiative that involves this level of complexity, you should first consult with your health-care attorney.