Physicians Failing To Disclose Supplier, POD Arrangements Fuel Kickback Concerns, Senators Say
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.
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The US Department of Justice is alleging that a South Dakota neurosurgeon collected spinal device kickbacks through two physician-owned distributors.
Industry trade groups spend millions of dollars and walk thousands of steps in the halls of the US Congress each year to persuade legislators and their staff to support votes on device-tax repeal, Medicare payment reform, and other issues. Using lobbying reports downloaded by a public interest group, Medtech Insight has analyzed what industry spent and paid out to hire legislative experts to lobby Congress in the first half of 2019, and which topics they lobbied for the most.
Surgeons invested in physician-owned distributorships (PODs) are performing procedures involving implantable devices at a 44% higher rate than non-POD surgeons, and are trying to avoid Sunshine Act requirements, says a May 10 report released by the US Senate Finance Committee. The Senate report takes a particularly dim look at the impact of PODs on spinal surgeons, saying that the rate of spinal surgery grew three times faster for hospitals that purchased from PODs than for hospitals overall.