The Trump administration is looking to ease compliance burdens that limit coordinated and value-based care for healthcare providers by modernizing the Stark Law and anti-kickback statute.

The changes could affect post-hospital discharge activity and physician referral patterns, and possibly lead to more patients being sent directly home rather than to institutional care settings, according to a government press release.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General announced the proposed changes Wednesday. The Stark Law bans physicians from referring patients to facilities they have a financial stake in. The changes would create an exemption to the law for value-based arrangements, if approved. 

Regulatory changes to the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the Civil Monetary Penalties Law would address laws that limit how providers coordinate care for patients. 

The move was applauded by American Medical Association President Patrice Harris, M.D. 

“While the AMA is assessing the full scope of today’s proposals, we are pleased to see that the administration has acknowledged a need for policy revisions in response to potential barriers that impede the delivery of patient-centric care,” Harris said in a statement. 

She said the Stark Law and anti-kickback statute can damage a physician’s ability to assist with coordination because they inhibit collaborative partnerships, care continuity and the engagement of patients in their care.

“Placing the obligation on the patient to know how to properly manage follow-up care without the assistance of their physician or care coordinator negatively impacts patient care, the physician-patient relationship, and a physician’s ability to perform,” Harris added. 

For example, under the changes hospitals may be able to provide discharged patients’ physicians with care coordinators to ensure patients receive appropriate follow-up care. A physician practice could also provide smart pillboxes to patients without charge to help them remember to take their medications on time under the proposed changes.