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HHS urged to permanently extend protections for health IT donations

May 13, 2013

The AHA today voiced support for extending federal self-referral (or Stark) and antikickback protections for hospitals that want to help physicians adopt health information technology, but urged the Department of Health and Human Services to make the regulatory protections permanent. “We believe that they will continue for the foreseeable future to be of critical importance to the nation’s efforts to adopt and expand operation of a robust national health IT infrastructure,” AHA said in identical comments submitted to HHS’ Office of Inspector General and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Their proposed rules would extend the protections, set to expire at the end of this year, through 2016. Among other recommendations, AHA said the final rule should continue to explicitly include all hospitals and health systems within the scope of donors protected by the regulations; remove a confusing statement about covered technology from the rule’s preamble; and avoid adding unnecessary complexity and administrative burden to the existing regulatory requirements.