Our Ask a PT question of the month: I was trying to schedule an appointment with one provider at a local health care facility/physician group, and they would not schedule this appointment for which I had an outside doctor's order because I would not follow up with their providers. Despite informing this office staff that I already had a provider I liked and trusted, they told me I had to because this was the law that THEIR providers in THEIR office follow up, when in fact I was already going to follow up with my original ordering provider. Is this right?
Answer: No!! This is not legal at all! This is a clear violation of the Stark Law, which prevents a physician in one health care facility or physician group to only allow, coerce, or force their patients to get additional care/imaging/physical therapy, etc at their location which benefits their bottom line, instead of informing patients of all the possible places where patients can receive this service. So whether you are referred for physical therapy, imaging, or a follow up with another provider specialist, your doctor's office is legally obligated to give you either verbally or in writing all of the other options you have. If you know of a violation of this Physician Self-Referral Law otherwise known as the Stark Law, you can report it so it does not happen to other patients. Click here for more info or report the event directly and easily using the Medicare Fraud hotline as long as the practice accepts Medicare patients (whether or not you are on Medicare) at 1-800-MEDICARE.
Rest assured that our providers here at MotionWorks are in it for the patient, and we refer patients to who we feel are the best and most ethical providers in town and out of town, regardless of their hospital or physician group affiliation. That's what patient-centered care is all about!