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Physician Groups Divided on GAO Self-Referral Report

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, July 29, 2013

"A doctor's first concern should be their patients' health, not their own personal wealth," Sen. Baucus said in a press statement. "This is yet another example of why we need to move toward a healthcare system that pays for care based on value, not volume... we need to find ways to clamp down on these doctors and make sure patients are getting the tests that are necessary and right for them."

In the House, 17 members of the GOP doctor's caucus signed a letter in late June asking Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), the Speaker of the House, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the Democratic leader, to reject any efforts to change the IOAS exemption.

"We would like to express our strong support for preserving in-office ancillary services," says the letter. "This provision permits physician practices to provide critical services…in an integrated and coordinated fashion…Integration of these medical services facilitates the development of coordinated clinical pathways, improves communication between specialists, offers better quality control of ancillary services, and enhances data collection?all of which can improve patient care."

For his part, President Barack Obama has included eliminating the IOAS exemption for radiation oncology, clinical laboratory services, and physical therapy in his FY 2014 budget with an estimated savings of $6 billion over 10 years. However, anatomic pathology remains an exemption.


Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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1 comments on "Physician Groups Divided on GAO Self-Referral Report"


erowe (8/6/2013 at 5:39 PM)
The article neglected to mention that if the In Office Exception is eliminated, many more Medicare services will be provided in hospital outpatient departments, which costs much more (sometimes more than 2 times more) than services provided in a physicians' office. The GAO reports also ignored this consideration, so their conclusion that this self referral cost more money than if those physicians had to send the studies out, is invalid. The CAP has a very vested interest in this issue, because they will get all the business that is denied to the treating physicians who are "self referring".