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Stark in 30 seconds 

Other laws and self-referral prohibitions. The Stark law should be distinguished from other federal and state laws directed at combating health care fraud and abuse, such as the federal antikickback law, the federal False Claims Act, state self-referral prohibitions and others.

The federal antikickback law provides criminal and civil penalties for the payment of any remuneration in exchange for referring or arranging for the referral of health care business reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid or other federal health care programs. The antikickback law imposes its own specific requirements and must be complied with independently. Thus, even though a financial relationship may be acceptable for Stark law compliance, the underlying relationship may nevertheless violate the federal antikickback law, or arrangements structured to comply with the antikickback law may nevertheless violate the Stark law.

In addition to the potential penalties the government may impose for a direct violation of the Stark law or the antikickback law, a Stark law violation can serve as the basis for a claim under the federal False Claims Act – a federal law that prohibits the submission of a false claim to the federal government. Because the False Claims Act allows for the imposition of triple damages, False Claims Act violations can result in massive financial costs to health care providers and organizations. Stark law violations can therefore independently result in significant financial costs, and they can also serve as the basis for more significant violations of federal law.

State self-referral prohibitions impose separate restrictions on physician referrals to organizations with which a physician has a financial relationship.

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