Friday, November 16, 2007

How The ACC Sees It
...a matter of Spin

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While surfing the 'Net for an scrap of information, I stumbled upon an interesting page from the American College of Cardiology. Exerpted below are two pertinent paragraphs:

West Virginia Cardiologists Continue Battle for Freedom of Imaging

Ganpat G. Thakker, M.B.B.S., F.A.C.C., President, West Virginia Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, this week carried his campaign for freedom of cardiovascular imaging to the Charleston Gazette. In a letter to the editor Dr. Thakker pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that West Virginia citizens have the highest rate of cardiovascular disease in the United States. Cardiologists are dismayed that the West Virginia Legislature may vote to make it more difficult for patients to obtain needed cardiovascular services from their physicians. SB 266 and HB 2652, currently before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, would let the state decide whether a physician can purchase computed tomography (CT) equipment. Both committees are expected to vote on this legislation soon.

Maryland Cardiologists Support Amendments to Self-Referral Law

Roger Leonard, M.D., F.A.C.C., President, Maryland Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, presented a statement this week to the Maryland House of Delegates Health and Government Operations Committee supporting HB 849. That bill would amend the state's restrictive self-referral law by removing MR, CT and radiation therapy services from the in-office ancillary exception for group practices in rural areas. Orthopaedic surgery is expected to support the bill while radiology's strong opposition is anticipated. In his statement Dr. Leonard argued that both the growth of imaging technology and patient access to improved techniques were unforeseen when the General Assembly passed the Maryland Self-Referral Law in 1993. Cardiac MR and CT have now become central to the safe and effective diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

"Cardiologists are dismayed that the West Virginia Legislature may vote to make it more difficult for patients to obtain needed cardiovascular services from their physicians." Gee, that sounds an awful lot like the arguments AMIC puts forth to convince Congress of the need to amend DRA-2005. Listen to this quote from the debate in the West Virginia Lesislature over SB 266:
Senator Evan Jenkins attempted to amend the rule again by deleting the entire section prohibiting physician to physician referral. He argued strongly that a vote against his amendment would be a vote in favor of bigger government intrusion into the private practice of medicine, negatively impact access to patient care, negatively impact patient convenience and pose higher costs to patients by restricting competition.
My, but this sounds really, really familiar, doesn't it? How can we use the same arguments, but hope to achieve different results?

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