News | September 23, 2009

Self-Referral Ban Withdrawn from Healthcare Reform Bill

September 23, 2009 - After offering an amendment to close the in-office ancillary services exception for advanced medical imaging under the Stark law during the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s continued markup of H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) withdrew the offer.

Rep. Weiner stressed the detrimental effects associated with physician self-referral. Rep. Braley highlighted the dangers of radiation in the hands of untrained providers.

Despite these financial conflicts of interest and the safety and quality concerns inherent in physician ownership of imaging equipment, both congressman withdrew their amendment. Prior to withdrawing their amendment, both lawmakers secured a commitment from House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) to further examine the issue during the ongoing healthcare reform debate.

In closing, Rep. Weiner added that he would like for CMS to examine the issue of physician self-referral and determine any possible regulatory solutions through the tightening of existing regulations.

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