The Honorable Robert J. Portman
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Michael F. Bennet
261 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
November 1, 2017
Dear Senators Portman and Bennet:
We are writing to convey our strong support for S. 2051, “The Medicare Care Coordination Improvement Act of 2017.” Your legislation would substantially improve care coordination for patients, improve health outcomes and restrain costs by allowing physicians to participate and succeed in alternative payment models.
The bill would modernize the “Stark” self-referral law that was enacted nearly 30 years ago and pose barriers to care coordination. The Stark Law prohibits payment arrangements that consider the volume or value of referrals or other business generated by the parties. These prohibitions stifle care delivery innovation by inhibiting practices from incentivizing their physicians to deliver patient care more effectively and efficiently because the practices cannot use resources from designated health services in rewarding or penalizing adherence to clinical guidelines and treatment pathways.
Congress recognized the Stark Law was a barrier to care coordination long ago when it authorized the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to waive the self-referral and anti-kickback prohibitions for Accountable Care Organizations. MACRA’s full potential can only be achieved by modernizing this law for physician-led APMs as well.
“The Medicare Care Coordination Improvement Act of 2017” will provide CMS with the regulatory authority to create exceptions under the Stark Law for alternative payment models and to remove barriers in the current law to the development and operation of such arrangements. Specifically the bill would: