42 U.S.C. 1395nn - Limitation on certain physician referrals

Cite as:42 U.S.C. 1395nn
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-91 (12/19/2019)
 
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(a) Prohibition of certain referrals

(1) In general

Except as provided in subsection (b), if a physician (or an immediate family member of such physician) has a financial relationship with an entity specified in paragraph (2), then-

(A) the physician may not make a referral to the entity for the furnishing of designated health services for which payment otherwise may be made under this subchapter, and

(B) the entity may not present or cause to be presented a claim under this subchapter or bill to any individual, third party payor, or other entity for designated health services furnished pursuant to a referral prohibited under subparagraph (A).

(2) Financial relationship specified

For purposes of this section, a financial relationship of a physician (or an immediate family member of such physician) with an entity specified in this paragraph is-

(A) except as provided in subsections (c) and (d), an ownership or investment interest in the entity, or

(B) except as provided in subsection (e), a compensation arrangement (as defined in subsection (h)(1)) between the physician (or an immediate family member of such physician) and the entity.

An ownership or investment interest described in subparagraph (A) may be through equity, debt, or other means and includes an interest in an entity that holds an ownership or investment interest in any entity providing the designated health service.

(b) General exceptions to both ownership and compensation arrangement prohibitions

Subsection (a)(1) shall not apply in the following cases:

(1) Physicians' services

In the case of physicians' services (as defined in section 1395x(q) of this title) provided personally by (or under the personal supervision of) another physician in the same group practice (as defined in subsection (h)(4)) as the referring physician.

(2) In-office ancillary services

In the case of services (other than durable medical equipment (excluding infusion pumps) and parenteral and enteral nutrients, equipment, and supplies)-

(A) that are furnished-

(i) personally by the referring physician, personally by a physician who is a member of the same group practice as the referring physician, or personally by individuals who are directly supervised by the physician or by another physician in the group practice, and

(ii)

(I) in a building in which the referring physician (or another physician who is a member of the same group practice) furnishes physicians' services unrelated to the furnishing of designated health services, or

(II) in the case of a referring physician who is a member of a group practice, in another building which is used by the group practice-

(aa) for the provision of some or all of the group's clinical laboratory services, or

(bb) for the centralized provision of the group's designated health services (other than clinical laboratory services),

unless the Secretary determines other terms and conditions under which the provision of such services does not present a risk of program or patient abuse, and

(B) that are billed by the physician performing or supervising the services, by a group practice of which such physician is a member under a billing number assigned to the group practice, or by an entity that is wholly owned by such physician or such group practice,

if the ownership or investment interest in such services meets such other requirements as the Secretary may impose by regulation as needed to protect against program or patient abuse. Such requirements shall, with respect to magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, positron emission tomography, and any other designated health services specified under subsection (h)(6)(D) that the Secretary determines appropriate, include a requirement that the referring physician inform the individual in writing at the time of the referral that the individual may obtain the services for which the individual is being referred from a person other than a person described in subparagraph (A)(i) and provide such individual with a written list of suppliers (as defined in section 1395x(d) of this title) who furnish such services in the area in which such individual resides.

(3) Prepaid plans

In the case of services furnished by an organization-

(A) with a contract under section 1395mm of this title to an individual enrolled with the organization,

(B) described in section 1395l(a)(1)(A) of this title to an individual enrolled with the organization,

(C) receiving payments on a prepaid basis, under a demonstration project under section 1395b-1(a) of this title or under section 222(a) of the Social Security Amendments of 1972, to an individual enrolled with the organization,

(D) that is a qualified health maintenance organization (within the meaning of section 300e-9(d) 1 of this title) to an individual enrolled with the organization, or

(E) that is a Medicare+Choice organization under part C that is offering a coordinated care plan described in section 1395w-21(a)(2)(A) of this title to an individual enrolled with the organization.

(4) Other permissible exceptions

In the case of any other financial relationship which the Secretary determines, and specifies in regulations, does not pose a risk of program or patient abuse.

(5) Electronic prescribing

An exception established by regulation under section 1395w-104(e)(6) of this title.1

(c) General exception related only to ownership or investment prohibition for ownership in publicly traded securities and mutual funds

Ownership of the following shall not be considered to be an ownership or investment interest described in subsection (a)(2)(A):

(1) Ownership of investment securities (including shares or bonds, debentures, notes, or other debt instruments) which may be purchased on terms generally available to the public and which are-

(A)

(i) securities listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, or any regional exchange in which quotations are published on a daily basis, or foreign securities listed on a recognized foreign, national, or regional exchange in which quotations are published on a daily basis, or

(ii) traded under an automated interdealer quotation system operated by the National Association of Securities Dealers, and

(B) in a corporation that had, at the end of the corporation's most recent fiscal year, or on average during the previous 3 fiscal years, stockholder equity exceeding $75,000,000.

(2) Ownership of shares in a regulated investment company as defined in section 851(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, if such company had, at the end of the company's most recent fiscal year, or on average during the previous 3 fiscal years, total assets exceeding $75,000,000.

(d) Additional exceptions related only to ownership or investment prohibition

The following, if not otherwise excepted under subsection (b), shall not be considered to be an ownership or investment interest described in subsection (a)(2)(A):

(1) Hospitals in Puerto Rico

In the case of designated health services provided by a hospital located in Puerto Rico.

(2) Rural providers

In the case of designated health services furnished in a rural area (as defined in section 1395ww(d)(2)(D) of this title) by an entity, if-

(A) substantially all of the designated health services furnished by the entity are furnished to individuals residing in such a rural area;

(B) effective for the 18-month period beginning on December 8, 2003, the entity is not a specialty hospital (as defined in subsection (h)(7)); and

(C) in the case where the entity is a hospital, the hospital meets the requirements of paragraph (3)(D).

(3) Hospital ownership

In the case of designated health services provided by a hospital (other than a hospital described in paragraph (1)) if-

(A) the referring physician is authorized to perform services at the hospital;

(B) effective for the 18-month period beginning on December 8, 2003, the hospital is not a specialty hospital (as defined in subsection (h)(7));

(C) the ownership or investment interest is in the hospital itself (and not merely in a subdivision of the hospital); and

(D) the hospital meets the requirements described in subsection (i)(1) not later than 18 months after March 23, 2010.

(e) Exceptions relating to other compensation arrangements

The following shall not be considered to be a compensation arrangement described in subsection (a)(2)(B):

(1) Rental of office space; rental of equipment

(A) Office space

Payments made by a lessee to a lessor for the use of premises if-

(i) the lease is set out in writing, signed by the parties, and specifies the premises covered by the lease,

(ii) the space rented or leased does not exceed that which is reasonable and necessary for the legitimate business purposes of the lease or rental and is used exclusively by the lessee when being used by the lessee, except that the lessee may make payments for the use of space consisting of common areas if such payments do not exceed the lessee's pro rata share of expenses for such space based upon the ratio of the space used exclusively by the lessee to the total amount of space (other than common areas) occupied by all persons using such common areas,

(iii) the lease provides for a term of rental or lease for at least 1 year,

(iv) the rental charges over the term of the lease are set in advance, are consistent with fair market value, and are not determined in a manner that takes into account the volume or value of any referrals or other business generated between the parties,

(v) the lease would be commercially reasonable even if no referrals were made between the parties, and

(vi) the lease meets such other requirements as the Secretary may impose by regulation as needed to protect against program or patient abuse.

(B) Equipment

Payments made by a lessee of equipment to the lessor of the equipment for the use of the equipment if-

(i) the lease is set out in writing, signed by the parties, and specifies the equipment covered by the lease,

(ii) the equipment rented or leased does not exceed that which is reasonable and necessary for the legitimate business purposes of the lease or rental and is used exclusively by the lessee when being used by the lessee,

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