Phase I of the final regulations creates a “non-monetary compensation up to $300” exception to Stark II.

Formerly known as the “de minimis compensation” exception, the non-monetary compensation exception permits an ophthalmologist to receive up to $300 of items or services, such as gifts or free meals, per year; provided, however, that the ophthalmologist or ophthalmologist’s practice does not solicit the items or services, the compensation does not take into account the volume of business generated by the referring ophthalmologist, and the compensation does not violate the Anti-Kickback Statute. There is no longer a cap on the value of any one gift received by an ophthalmologist.