For some surgeons, the real money isn’t in operating, but in deciding what medical devices to operate with. But does getting paid to use certain devices go against anti-kickback legislation?
Five senators want answers to this question, and have asked the inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department to look into it, The Wall Street Journal reports. Currently, physician-owned distributorships exist in 20 states and allow surgeons to receive financial incentives to use certain devices.
The five senators—Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Max Baucus, D-Mont., Herb Kohl, D-Wis., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Bob Corker, R-Tenn.—made their request at the same time the Senate Finance Committee reported on the proliferation of PODs dedicated to spinal and orthopedic surgery.
The Senate report cites other anecdotal evidence tying PODs to unnecessary surgeries, like one hospital that reported a more than 300 percent increase in spinal re-operation rates following the creation of a POD.