Physician Groups Divided on GAO Self-Referral Report
The College of American Pathologists (CAP), the American Clinical Laboratory Association, and the American College of Radiology, are among the physician associations that want Congress to take immediate action to end the self-referral of anatomic pathology services.
The GAO report provides "irrefutable evidence that physician self-referral… contributes to widespread abuses, increased medical costs and over utilization," Gene Herbek, MD, FCAP, and the president-elect of the 18,000-member College of American Pathologists, said in a press statement.
In an e-mail exchange, Richard Friedberg, MD PhD, member of the CAP board of governors, and chair of the CAP council on government and professional affairs, dismissed Dr. Kapoor's clinical standards argument. "It is the ownership arrangement that accounts for the increase. The GAO study, as well as the study published last year in Health Affairs looked at the influences on the number of biopsies billed, and both found that physicians with a financial interest in providing the services billed for more services."
The only way to prevent the financial conflict of interest, Friedberg says, is to "remove anatomic pathology services from the in-office ancillary services exception. CAP believes Congress should act immediately to end self-referral of anatomic pathology services."
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