Some of the most important protections under the federal Stark Law (“Stark”) and the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) have been those that permit hospitals and other organizations to donate electronic health records (“EHR”) items and services to physicians. Fortunately for physicians, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) recently decided to extend these donated EHR protections for another eight years. First introduced in 2006, these Stark and AKS protections were scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2013. With the expiration date looming, CMS and the OIG published final rules (the “Final Rules”) on December 27, 2013 extending through 2021 the Stark exception and the AKS safe harbor pertaining to the donation of EHR items and services in the hopes of encouraging further adoption of such systems by physicians.
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