ANNAPOLIS -- A bill intended to prevent physicians from sending patients to facilities in which the physician has a financial interest died yesterday in a Senate committee.
House Bill 1374, the so-called "physician self-referral" bill, failed to win a single vote once members of the Senate Finance Committee agreed there was little time to consider all the amendments offered.
The Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, the state physicians' society known as Med-Chi, had pushed for the bill as a way to contain health-care costs. But opponents said that Med-Chi was opposed to the self-referral ban until this year, and only changed its mind after a Georgia company called Radiation Care Inc. entered the state.
The bill would have prohibited physicians who own stock in Radiation Care from sending their patients to the firm's clinics. Other types of care providers would have been restricted, but almost as many providers were exempted, leading to suspicions that Radiation Care was the true target.