Stark Law Recognizes Same Sex Marriages for Purposes of Immediate Family Member Definition

CMS recently updated its Frequently Asked Questions related to the prohibition on physician self-referral to be consistent with Department policy to treat same-sex marriages “on the same terms as opposite sex marriages to the greatest extent reasonably possible.”

In reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v Windsor, where the Court found part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, CMS clarified that the definition of an “immediate family member” of a physician does include the lawfully married same-sex spouse of a physician and family members that result from the lawful marriage of same-sex individuals.

Importantly, this is true only if the state or other jurisdiction, whether foreign or domestic, where the couple was married recognizes the marriage under its laws, or if the state(s) or other jurisdiction(s) where the couple lives recognizes the marriage as a legally valid marriage.

The updated FAQ can be found at the following link:


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