Costs Soar as Docs Order and Perform Tests
Fishy practice highlights challenge of medical regulation
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jul 31, 2009 12:25 PM CDT
A nurse and doctor review MRI scans.   (Photo: Business Wire)

(Newser) – As Congress wrestles with health-care reform, studies show it’s tough to regulate the status quo: Doctors’ “self-referrals” for medical imaging have continued despite efforts to legislate against them, the Washington Post reports. Doctors who own the equipment that scans patients stand to make more cash—and tend to order a lot more scans, costing Americans billions in taxes and insurance premiums.

One Midwestern practice ordered 700% more scans in the months after it picked up its own machine. Doctors can’t both prescribe and sell medications, and some lawmakers say a similar standard should apply to imaging. But a 1992 law against self-referral for imaging left a loophole. While some may be abusing the system, “most doctors are dedicated to providing outstanding patient care,” says one doctor. “Is everyone a Bernie Madoff or a crooked politician?”

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Showing 3 of 4 comments
Riffran
Aug 1, 2009 6:43 AM CDT
well I know a few test happy docs myself....but their purpose is not income...it's to find the patients problem....they are INSANELY thourough.......but they do not want to miss something that could result in a poor patient outcome.....but I do realize that other doc's may not be so altruistic
NewserScooter
Aug 1, 2009 5:02 AM CDT
Docs usually provide those scans and procedures at lower costs then the hospitals, In most states, Hospital own the equiptment and employ the physicians and force them to use there facilities. This is a BS argument poised by hospitals trying to quash there competition.
Derni
Aug 1, 2009 1:42 AM CDT
One more reason you should watch SICKO by M. Moore-then watch Bill moyer's Special on Health Care and see how drug companies bought off Congress and killed health care in 1993-he also lets us know hoe much money drug companies and others in the medical business have given to men and women-supposedly serving our needs-in Congress. And catch the interbiew with Wendall Potter former executive with CIGNA medical-find out what insurance companies really do top keep the USA from getting a Gov't plan and more.