During the fiscal year of 2010, self-referrals amounted to over $109 million dollars in extra payments from Medicare, which equates to approximately 400,000 diagnostic imaging examinations for seemingly arbitrary purposes.
Self-referral leads to more images, more treatment, more surgeries, etc., and contributes to the escalation in the unsustainable rising health-care costs. It is a vicious cycle. So why not just eliminate self-referral?
Policymakers should be aware that even well-informed patients with good access to primary care need the ER. Legislation should aim to increase availability of primary care, but not penalize for use of emergency services.
When I was first interviewed about birth photography, my gut reaction was, "what kind of weirdo wants their portrait taken at this most intimate moment?" Then I realized I did something a zillion times weirder.