A right to ownership, but not to receive Medicare payment

LETTER — Posted Sept. 6, 2010

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Regarding: "Physician-owned hospitals: Endangered species?" (Article, June 28): I believe it is reasonable and appropriate for physicians to own hospitals, surgery centers, GI suites, radiology centers, etc. This is despite clear data suggesting that self-referral is more costly.

I also believe it is appropriate for insurance companies to choose which providers and facilities to contract with. As a shareholder of a large insurance provider, Medicare (I am a taxpayer), I support any legislation that forbids Medicare patients from receiving care where a physician refers to a facility in which he or she has financial interest. As mentioned previously, I respect the right of the physician to own a facility. As a taxpayer, I will vote for representatives that forbid such conflicts of interest.

Most physicians practice without economic motive. However, we are human and subject to human frailties. If the equation of care is minimally influenced by business factors, patients may suffer. Too much or too little care has been clearly identified as potentially harmful. There are many facilities to refer to that are not owned by physicians; thus, a prohibition on self-referral introduces no risk of too little care. And with the cost of Medicare predicted to weigh heavily on generations to come, it seems logical and obvious that self-referral should be eliminated.

Robert Naveles, MD, Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/09/06/edlt0906.htm.

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn