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March 2, 1990

Conflicts of Interest, Continued

Author Affiliations

Lubbock, Tex

Lubbock, Tex

JAMA. 1990;263(9):1200. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440090029016

To the Editor.—  In reference to the articles in the July 21 issue on conflicts of interest in physicians' referring patients to facilities in which they (the physicians) have investments,1-3 I offer an additional reason why it would be foolish for the government to proscribe all such activity. Physicians who are investors in local diagnostic and treatment facilities can refer not only their paying patients to such facilities but also their charity patients. While some institutionally and privately owned treatment and diagnostic centers might refuse nonpaying patients, the facility in which the physician has an interest is less likely to do so, because the physician as a part owner is in a position to influence the policies of the facility. From a practical and ethical standpoint, the physician is in a stronger position to demand charity care for his patients in a facility in which he shares the losses