CMS delays the prohibition of physician self-referrals
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has officially delayed implementing the Stark III prohibitions of physician self-referrals for one year.  

One exception to the postponement is a rule that prohibits markups by the physician or supplier on the technical or professional components of diagnostic tests when tests are performed outside of the physician's or supplier's office.

CMS also identified the 74 standards that will be used in the Physicians Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) in 2008 and plans to publish the details of the entire measure set at a later date. Also, CMS will continue to accept stakeholder input on the standards, which were narrowed from an initial list of 148.

CMS estimates that PQRI physician bonus payments for 2008 will remain around 1.5 percent of acceptable charges.

With this omission, the rule becomes effective Dec. 4.