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Government Studies of Physician-Owned Laboratories

James W. Wiggs, MD
JAMA. 1990;264(15):1946. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450150044019.
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To the Editor.—  In the article by Rowland and Biles,1 "studies" are cited in support of the idea that "physicians with ownership interests ordered 45% more laboratory services than physicians without such interests," with "another study finding even higher rates." It turns out that both of these were not studies, but testimonies, the first of Richard P. Kusserow, Inspector General of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and another the testimony of M. Zimmerman from the US General Accounting Office. Both of these "studies" are in fact testimonies by agents of the federal government who may be adversarial to physicians.The usual questions about control groups, frequency of ordering, purpose of ordering, intensity of illness, isolation of providers, and so on, all deserve to be answered, and none of these can be answered with regard to the so-called studies. They are simply one more pirouette in the

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