April 20, 2007—A new Web-exclusive study published by the journal Health Affairs, entitled “The Prevalence of Physician Self-Referral Arrangements After Stark II: Evidence from Advanced Diagnostic Imaging,” author Jean Mitchell, professor of public policy at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, uncovers evidence suggesting that providers billing for advanced imaging services continue to self-refer.

Analyzing providers who billed a large, private health insurer in California for advanced imaging procedures in 2004, Mitchell finds that 33% of providers who submitted bills for MRI scans, 22% who submitted for CT scans, and 17% who submitted for PET scans did so in ways that qualified as self-referral. Among this group, 61% of those who billed for MRI and 64% of those who billed for CT did not own the imaging equipment, suggesting the kind of arcane lease agreements often prohibited by federal and state laws.

A full-text version of the article is available online.

—Cat Vasko