Study: Self-referral fuels growth in imaging scans

A new study suggests that the outcome feared by both legislators and payers--a growth in services ordered--is coming to pass when physicians invest in imaging centers and equipment. The study, published in the current issue of MedicalCare, concludes that the number of privately-insured patients referred for imaging scans in the U.S. has grown in recent times, due primarily to self-referrals by doctors who have an interest in imaging centers or hardware. To draw this conclusion, researcher Dr. Jean Mitchell of Georgetown University reviewed data from a large private insurer collected between 2000 and 2004 and compared the analysis to a report by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. Both showed a growth in imaging tests, but the majority of the increase was seen in patients with private health plans offering fee-for-service reimbursement, the study found.

To learn more about the study:
- read this HealthDay News article

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