Is this a Stark violation?

May 6, 2005

Can a number of independent practices pool resources to open an MRI center without running afoul of Stark laws?

Q: Can a number of independent practices pool resources to open an MRI center without running afoul of Stark laws?

A: Yes, but each office must independently be able to satisfy the "in-office ancillary" exception, which includes maintaining an office somewhere in the same building that is either:

- open at least 35 hours per week to their patients and staffed by the group at least 30 hours per week;
- open at least eight hours per week, staffed by the referring physician or group at least six hours per week, and each patient referred for an MRI typically sees that physician there for services unrelated to the MRI; or
- open at least eight hours per week, staffed by the referring physician or other group members at least six hours per week, and either the referring physician orders the MRI on-site during a visit, or a group member is on-site when the MRI is performed.