POD Pressure: Senators Scrutinize Physician-Owned Distributorships At Hearing
This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet
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.
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US Senate Finance Committee leaders say some physicians may have failed to disclose their physician-ownership interests in entities that offer medical supplies to the physician’s own practice, as required under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. The legislators on March 19 prodded the Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to take a closer look into these arrangements.
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.
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