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How Does Your Doctor Make Referrals in a Hidden System?

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The Wall Street Journal published an article on December 27, 2018 titled “The Hidden System That Explains How Your Doctor Makes Referrals / More primary-care doctors work directly for hospitals, and they are being pushed to keep lucrative referrals in-house.” PINK wants to address questions this article raises about PINK. 

This Wall Street Journal (links below) identified hospitals that tell doctors where to send their patients for business reasons (money) rather than for the best interest of their patients. Reporters found this resulted in higher costs to insurance and to patients, and this practice raises quality concerns. The article compared costs of $612 at a hospital facility vs $247 at a doctor’s office, and $529.85 at a hospital vs $57.83 at a doctor’s office. Apparently, some hospital systems expect physicians to refer patients within the system, regardless of cost or quality. Patients were not informed they’d see higher costs or reduced quality if they stay in the system. The Wall Street Journal found administrators who use systems and reports to pressure doctors to refer patients only within the hospital system, not to the best provider. 

Addressing the questions raised: 

  • PINK has no financial relationship with doctors who refer patients to PINK. 
  • PINK has no financial relationship with doctors PINK refers patients to. 
  • PINK bills at the (lower) doctor’s office rates, not hospital rates. 


To read the article, either Google “phoebe putney wall street journal” or click here: 


Please email questions about this article or about PINK referrals to 


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