On January 4, 2001, HCFA published a Stark Law rule (the "Final Rule") that constitutes the first phase of what will be a two-phase final Stark Law rule. The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) states that it intends to publish the second phase shortly. Perhaps due to the two-phase structure of the Final Rule, HCFA also took the unexpected step of making almost all of the Final Rule effective January 4, 2002, an entire year after its publication. (A provision reconciling a separate home health self-referral rule with the Stark Law is effective February 5, 2001.) Notably, the Final Rule was published with a 90-day comment period, ending April 4, 2001. As of the date of this Health Law Update, it is not entirely clear how
the Final Rule will be affected by the Bush Administration’s memo dated January 20, 2001, which temporarily postpones for 60 days the effective date of regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but have not taken effect.