Physician-owned distributorships under scrutiny in Senate

The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing Tuesday to discuss if physician-owned distributorships are harmful to patients and payers.

A POD is a medical device business in which a physician invests in and operates. PODs are not always problematic, but they often come under attack. Critics argue they can create a conflict of interest and negatively impact the healthcare system if physicians use the devices they sell in their own practice.

In a statement at Tuesday’s hearing, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called the arrangements "deeply concerning."

"A few bad apples don't mean the whole bushel is rotten. But the fact is, this type of business operates too often in the dark. Frequently, neither patients nor hospitals nor regulators know when a doctor is part of a distributorship," Sen. Wyden said in the statement.

However, John Steinmann, DO, an orthopedic surgeon, testified in favor of PODs. He said he has developed a model for surgeon ownership in PODs that reduces conflicts of interest, ensures cost savings and protects patient safety.

"Conflicts of interest are a serious and valid concern. We have proven those real concerns can be countered — and patients can be protected — with high, clear, enforceable standards that bring accountability to physician-owned distributorships," Dr. Steinmann testified.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the finance committee, called on legislators to continue to provide oversight and regulation of the issue.

More articles on integration and physician issues:

Valley View Medical Center changes name
How Paris hospitals responded to last weekend's terrorist attacks
Mass. nurses call opioid bill a 'disservice'

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars