For a number of years federal laws and legislation related to anti-kickback restrictions, often referred to as “Stark Laws”, have restricted the ability for physicians to own inpatient healthcare facilities, such as acute-care hospitals, long-term care facilities, etc. The primary impetus behind the Stark Laws was to limit the ability for physicians to refer patients to an entity that the physician has a financial interest of some sort; this could include equity ownership, creditor or incentive-based compensation arrangements based on referrals. In case you are not familiar with the inner workings of the healthcare industry, this is generally referred to as “self-referrals”.
Just recently the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a “final rule with comment period” relating to regulations around physician-owned hospitals. The changes were relatively minor, making slight modifications to the “process through which physician-owned hospitals