New Orleans A bi-partisan group of US Senators, led by Orin Hatch (R-UT) has asked for an investigation of physician-owned-distributorships (POD) and the lack of safeguards preventing docs from unnecessary surgeries utilizing devices that enrich them because they are distributors for manufacturers. A study Hatch released indicated these PODs are legal in 20 states now and seem to be triggering a spate of risky and redundant spinal and orthopedic surgery. I can only say, “Right on!” and then, “Don’t stop there!”
I am equally suspicious of doctors that display, advertise, and then recommend, i.e. prescribe, supplements and vitamins in their offices as part of treatment and care in order to fatten their pocketbooks even though there may be cheaper and generic alternatives. When I hear that such doctors are not processing insurance claims for their patients to me that is a neon flashing warning light that these are pocketbook doctors rather than medical doctors and the only pain they are alleviating is whatever you may have had by sitting on a wallet with too many dollar bills. They clearly know that their “vitamins” will not be covered by insurance nor is it likely that most of their care will be, and they are therefore simply involving themselves in predatory practices on their desperate patients. Perhaps that example is too easy to stop, but the point is that no one is really regulating doctors now but their own medical boards and that is no regulation at all.
There have long been warning signs on doctor owned and investor owned hospitals and whether or not they are within miles of the Hippocratic Oath of “doing no harm,” especially when it comes to separating out the patient’s best interest from the doctor’s self-interest. The problem remains that doctors are making the referrals to hospitals where they practice, so the patient becomes a “captive market” and anytime that happens, abuses are going to proliferate.
Even as future healthcare is being debated, there’s no reason for the Senators, feds, and states not to step up and do the jobs they should be doing of providing some public accountability and protecting the public from health care predators wearing white coats. It’s a life or death matter!