Statement by the American Clinical Laboratory Association on the JAMA opinion editorial titled “Physician Self-referral Regulation By Exceptions” (1-12-2015)
WASHINGTON D.C. – The American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) today applauded the opinion and analysis by Eli Y. Adashi, MD, MS and Robert P. Kocher, MD published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on January 12, 2015 that determined a series of reports produced by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the impact of physician self-referral to the integrity of medical practice is a call to action for Congress to address the so-called Stark Law, including the in-office ancillary services (IOAS) exception.
Specifically, Drs. Adashi and Kocher address the growth rates in service utilization of self-referred services in the advanced imaging, anatomic pathology, radiation therapy, and physical therapy areas of medical practice arenas on Medicare Part B spending. Their analysis of a GAO audit from 2004-2010, which comports with the GAO’s conclusions as well as that of the ACLA and several like-minded organizations that comprise the Alliance for Integrity in Medicare (AIM) Coalition, asserts that the excess number of self-referred advanced imaging, anatomic pathology, and IMRT services that increased Medicare Part B expenditures by approximately $300 million is driven by financial incentive and not in the best interests of patients.
ACLA has long supported the exclusion of anatomic pathology from the IOAS exception and advocated for reform of the self-referral law that would enhance patient safety and health care quality as well as add millions in Medicare savings.