25 Mar Senators Grassley and Wyden Continue Attention on PODS
On March 19th Senators Grassley and Wyden communicated to the OIG & CMS the importance of ensuring that PODs fulfill their obligations under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. Based on previous inquiries there is great concern that PODs drive up healthcare costs.
“In 2011, Senator Grassley, along with Senators Hatch, Baucus, Kohl, and Corker, became concerned about the proliferation of PODs, particularly those selling devices for spinal surgeries, and about their potential to run afoul of the Anti-Kickback Statute. The Senators requested that the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) review the “structures and activities” of PODs, including their relationships with hospitals and potential effects on patient care. HHS OIG found that spinal surgeries for hospitals that purchase medical devices from PODs increased at a rate three times faster than for hospitals overall in FY 2011.4 HHS OIG also reported that PODs may be driving up healthcare costs due to overutilization and that surgeries that used POD devices were more expensive than non-POD surgeries.5 In November 2015, then-Chairman Hatch and Ranking Member Wyden held a Finance Committee hearing on the medical and financial risks to patients and healthcare payers associated with PODs.”