• Friday, January 24, 2014RSS Feed

    New Website Supports Ending Inappropriate Physician Self-Referral

    The fight to end inappropriate physician self-referral has been boosted by the launch of a new website that will highlight the issue, support legislation aimed at curbing the practice, and help physical therapists (PTs) and others learn how to take action to advocate for needed change.

    The Alliance for Integrity in Medicare (AIM) coalition's new online presence is designed to educate providers, legislators, and the public on the impact of physician self-referral on the Medicare system, and to solidify support for the Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act (HR 2914), a recently introduced bill that seeks to close self-referral loopholes. These loopholes allow physicians to refer their Medicare patients for certain ancillary health care services owned by and contained within the physician's practice—an approach that results in unnecessary use of services, higher costs, and potential risk to patient health.

    APTA is a founding member of AIM, which also includes laboratory, radiation oncology, and medical imaging groups. The new website offers background on the issue, links to studies that confirm the damaging effects of self-referral, a press kit, and ways to easily take action and support the coalition's efforts.

    APTA has been working for years on Capitol Hill to fight physician self-referral. Find out more about this issue at APTA's self-referral webpage, and take action now by asking your legislators to close the self-referral loophole. Contact the APTA advocacy staff for more information.


    Comments

    Keep pushing harder!!
    Posted by Blerim Dibra on 1/24/2014 5:11 PM
    The powerhouse of MD-owned practices has 4 corners: advanced imaging, lab testing centers, pathology services, and physical therapy practices. When are the OIG and MedPac reports re: MD-PT referral patterns set for publication? This 4th corner needs to be cleaned up this year!
    Posted by Lise McCarthy on 1/24/2014 6:06 PM
    Cross-industry opposition of self-referral - great idea! Much needed, especially as payment reforms take hold; some well-intended but playing out in ways harmful to this cause. For example, some payers experimenting with bundled payment are building care networks exclusively with POPTS on the assumption that care and costs can be better controlled in such models. The value of independent providers needs to be more visible! Appreciate it APTA
    Posted by Mark Watson on 1/25/2014 10:15 AM
    This is the time to be unified, to be vocal, to contact our representatives and to make a desperately needed reform that will make a difference.
    Posted by Christopher Zentz -> ?FQ\CI on 1/25/2014 1:03 PM
    I agree with Lisa - where is the GAO report on PT self referral. I am also concerned about the major hospital systems that are signing up all the MD offices and pushing the same sort of referral monopolies. Direct Acess is a moot point unless we can't protect patients from these sort of entities.
    Posted by dano napoli on 1/27/2014 8:59 AM
    This should apply to Hospital employed physicians as well. They are "watched" for their referral pattern.
    Posted by Richard Kruckeberg -> ?FWa< on 1/27/2014 3:31 PM
    As a PT who has worked with a physician group for years, I find it interesting that self-referral is such a target when it stands to reason that if the IOASE goes away, you're going to see more ancillary services shifted to hospital settings where costs have shown to be higher. If ancillary services are no longer options for MDs, you'll see more physician practices selling out to hospitals or large networks. Good luck getting a referral out of a hospital or network system. You think POPTS is bad, just wait until you start fighting HOPTS. Our group gladly refers patients to outside PTs if patients request to follow-up with a PT outside of our practice. One other thing: at our location, we spend time focusing on patient care and patient outcomes. We haven't had to spend time on marketing efforts. If the IOASE is removed and we set up a private practice, I can guarantee we will not only continue to be supported by our former employer (the MD group), but we will also be aggressively establishing relationships with the other MDs in our area who we have heretofore not been able to market. A change to the status quo will have a ripple effect that I don't know if many have really considered.
    Posted by Robert on 1/29/2014 12:47 AM
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