During the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s continued markup of H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, Representatives Anthony Weiner (D-NY) and Bruce Braley (D-IA) offered, then withdrew, their amendment to close the in-office ancillary services exception for advanced medical imaging under the Stark law.
Both congressmen spoke about the problems associated with financial conflicts of interest as well as the safety and quality concerns that are inherent with physician ownership of imaging equipment.
Before withdrawing, however, Representative Weiner made a passionate statement about the detrimental effects associated with physician self-referral. Representative Braley reiterated Representative Weiner’s remarks and further highlighted the dangers of radiation in the hands of untrained providers. 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, Representative 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.
ACR thanks Representatives Weiner and Braley for their initiative in raising this issue in Committee during the highly publicized healthcare reform debate.