Doctors scrutinized for pushing unnecessary surgeries


Senators are probing cushy arrangements in which doctors are getting paid for the sale of medical devices they prescribe to patients, causing a troubling conflict of interest.

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday held a hearing to learn more about physician-owned distributors, which are device suppliers that have physician owners.

The problem surrounding the arrangement is conflict of interest, namely doctors recommending surgeries that aren't needed to ensure they get reimbursed for both the surgery and the device used in the procedure. Doctors aren't required to disclose the ties to patients.

"What is going on here are double-dip payments that are also a conflict of interest that puts American patients at risk," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the top Democrat on the committee.