The Medical Group Management Association told the CMS that physician-recruitment guidelines in interim final regulations issued in March are too strict and could impede hospitals' ability to replace physicians and hinder recruitment of doctors by group practices. The regulations, set to take effect July 24, create new exemptions to the federal ban on physician self-referral and clarify safe harbors for physician investment and compensation. The association's formal comments on the regulations also ask for modifications to make it easier for doctors to implement information technology on a broad basis. The MGMA said the "unduly restrictive" exemption would "significantly (hamper) the ability of hospitals to assist group practices with physician recruitment." The exemption "discriminates against medical group practices by permitting hospitals to cover more costs to recruit solo-practice physicians than to recruit those in group-practice settings," the association said. For instance, hospitals may pay overhead costs to recruit a physician to a solo practice but are prohibited from providing the same incentive when recruiting a physician to a group practice, the MGMA said. -- by Michael Romano
MGMA asks for looser physician-recruitment rules
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