Senators Seek Scrutiny Of Physician-Owned Device Distributors
This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet
Five senior senators are urging the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General to investigate the proliferation of entities that can steer surgeons to make implant choices based on personal profit.
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Orthopedic and other device-implanting surgeons who participate in physician-owned distributorships are circumventing Stark Law and Sunshine Act requirements to "grant themselves a steady stream of income" by ordering the most expensive implants, and performing some unneeded surgeries, says a Senate Finance Committee report released May 10. It scrutinizes the impact on spine surgeons, in particular.
A Nov. 17 Senate Finance Committee hearing advanced an ongoing investigation into the impact of physician-owned distributorships of medical devices on health care, including the concerns they raise over potential conflict of interest and risks to patient safety.
Inspector General: Physician-Supplied Spinal Devices Associated With More Surgeries, Potential Cost Increase
A study by the HHS Office of Inspector General finds that use of spinal devices supplied by physician-owned distributors may lead to an increase in spine surgeries and increased costs to Medicare.