More for-profit hospitals' physicians take pharma, device company payments than nonprofit counterparts & 4 other key findings

Spinal Tech

The percentage of physicians taking payments from pharmaceutical and medical device company varies in accordance with hospital location and ownership, according to a ProPublica report.

ProPublica tracked industry payments to physicians for the past six years. Its most recent analysis shows there is a vast difference between hospitals with regard to physicians taking industry payments.


ProPublica matched 2014 data on company payments to physicians with CMS data on the hospitals with which the physicians were affiliated at the time.


Here are five findings from ProPublica's analysis:


1. Nearly eight in 10 physicians at New Jersey hospitals took industry payments. Other states with high percentages of hospital-employed physicians taking industry payments include: Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama, all with rates higher than 76 percent.


2. The states with the lowest percentage hospital-employed physicians taking industry payments include Maine, Wisconsin and Massachusetts (below 46 percent), Minnesota (30 percent) and Vermont, which had the lowest rate of industry payment accepting physicians at only 19 percent.


3. There were also major differences in industry interactions among hospital physician with regard to hospital ownership. Here is the breakdown:


•    For-profit hospital — 74.7 percent
•    Nonprofit hospital — 65.5 percent  
•    Government (non-federal) hospital — 61.4 percent
•    Government (federal) hospital — 29 percent   


4. Additionally, the percentage of physicians taking industry payments also differed in accordance with grades assigned to hospitals by the American Medical Student Association based on the facility's conflict-of-interest policies in 2014.


•    A-grade hospitals — 46 percent
•    B-grade hospitals — 48 percent
•    C-grade hospitals — 58 percent
•    Hospitals rated as 'incomplete' (because their policies were insufficient) — 63 percent 


5. However, the percentage of hospital-employed physicians taking industry payments wasn't linked to the percentage of physicians taking larger payments.


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