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GAO report finds self-referring doctors may be driving up healthcare costs

The Hill, June 3, 2014
Doctors appear more likely to refer Medicare patients to physical therapy if they have a financial interest in the service, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The report found family practice and internal medicine providers in urban areas are more commonly referring physical therapy if they had a stake. The report also found that family practices that could refer patients to physical therapy at the same practice increasingly did so compared to physicians who could not "self-refer." Also, once providers began to "self-refer" patients to physical therapy, referrals increased at a faster rate than for providers who could not refer patients to physical therapy services where they had a stake.