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Monday, May 02, 2005

MRI and CT Centers Make Deals With Doctors

Apparantly, MRI and CT centers are making deals with doctors so that doctors who refer patients to a particular center make a profit. According to an article ($) in today's Wall Street Journal, the deal works like this:

The doctor signs an agreement with the MRI or CT center that says the doctor will refer all scans to that particular center. The center will charge the doctor a reduced fee of say $375. The doctor would then receive the going rate from the insurance company (based on geographic location and other factors) of around $700. The doctor would get to keep the $325 difference. At two referrals per day, that works out to about $169,000 in profit per year.

This is basically an illegal practice. But, the MRI and CT centers have found a way around the law by "leasing" out space to the doctor's office. So, when a doctor referres a patient to a center, it is looked at as if the doctor is leasing the space in order to scan the patient.

With the price of healthcare as high as it is, this practice looks like something that is going to be shut down. What do you think?

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