Multiple Media Outlets Care about Referral for Profit Abuse Issue

March 29, 2011

March 2011 Media Stories – Opposition to Assembly Bill 783


Will Assembly Bill Help or Hurt Physical Therapists? – Thursday, March 3, 2011

By David Gorn

Paul Gaspar is pretty upset. A physical therapist in the San Diego area and a board member of the California Physical Therapists Association, Gaspar said a bill recently introduced in the Assembly threatens the livelihood of many physical therapists in California.

He said it would promote over-utilization of physical therapy, increase costs and lower quality of care.

The bill, AB 783 by Mary Hayashi (D-Castro Valley), was designed to protect physical therapists, not harm them, supporters say.

But Gaspar is buying none of that. He said the bill is a blatant power grab by some provider groups to transform independent physical therapists into employees, and to make money off of them.

If a physical therapist becomes dependent on a particular medical corporation for all work, a few things happen, Gaspar said: The corporation gets to take a percentage of the therapist’s work; providers tend to over-refer, driving medical costs higher; and patient care suffers.


Turf fight: Physical therapists, athletic trainers in the fray – Thursday, March 17, 2011
By Malcolm Maclachlan

Hayashi’s most controversial bill appears to be one that proposes the fewest changes to the medical status quo. Her AB 783 would allow medical practices to employ physical therapists. The CPTA says this leads to higher costs and overtreatment.

“It’s just bad legislation for the consumer, the patient and the taxpayers,” said James M. Syms, president of the CPTA. “It’s an avoidable conflict of interests. It’s self-referring for profit.”

The legislation is supported by the powerful California Medical Association (CMA). The group points out that medical groups have been employing physical therapists (PTs) for years.

But Paul Gaspar, a board member with the CPTA, claimed that medical practices employing PTs is a violation of the Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act, which bars the undue influence or control of one profession over another.

He also pointed to a study conducted between 2002 and 2004 by the federal Office of the Inspector General, which found that 91 percent of physical therapy visits authorized by doctors under Medicare did not meet “program requirements” showing they were valid and needed — something which cost the federal government $136 million over six months. Gaspar said that studies have shown that doctor referrals lead to more than twice as many office visits, and that there have been cases where doctors have sent patients repeatedly even after the PT said they didn’t need further treatment.

No on AB 783 – Monday, March 21, 2011
By Paul Gaspar, DPT, Director, California Physical Therapy Association

In an era of health care reform, legislators and health care providers should be focusing on maximizing the efficiency and yield of our health care dollars, not on enabling abuses in California’s health care system.

The recently introduced California Assembly Bill 783 would legalize an inherent conflict of interest in health care by allowing physician self-referral-for-profit to physical therapists they employ, which is currently illegal according to the California Legislative Counsel. Many decisions in health care reform will not come easily, but upholding current law precluding this obvious conflict of interest that research has proven will cost our economy hundreds of millions each year should be a “no-brainer.”

We need legislators who are willing to stand up for the citizens of California instead of pandering to the big-spending special interests, like the California Medical Association. It’s time to move away from “politics as usual” that largely led to our $25 billion deficit.

Double-dipper alert on Assembly Bill 783 – Tuesday, March 22, 2011
By Wesley G. Hughes, Staff Writer

Hayashi’s bill would make it possible for physicians to own physical therapy services and to refer their patients to themselves for treatment. It’s against the law now, and it should stay that way. It would amount to legal double-dipping and cause health care costs to rise.

I told you I was there before.

I got a tip from a doctor that a local pharmaceutical company’s triple antibiotic ointment had been recalled as inferior and did not contain enough of the medicines it claimed to contain. The fly in this ointment was that the top officers and governing board of the corporation included the president, past president and president-elect of the county medical society, and the corporate president was the presiding judge of the superior court. And many local doctors were heavily invested in the company.

These guys – the golfing buddy judge excluded – were seeing patients and writing prescriptions for them on their own substandard medicines.

Double-dippers.

Because of my reporting, the corporation self-destructed.

Don’t let it happen again. Physical therapy probably isn’t as dangerous as weak and contaminated medicine, but the underlying motives are the same:

Greed.

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