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Report: Some doctors getting unethical advice

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Some health care consultants are giving doctors unethical advice, according to a 13-month investigation by the General Accounting Office.

Investigators presented their findings to the Senate Finance committee Wednesday.

The U.S. Government Accounting Office investigates seminars teaching doctors how to 'creatively overcharge' patients. CNN's Rea Blakey reports (June 27)

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They focused on two billing seminars conducted in the Washington, D.C. area. They said consultants encouraged doctors to perform unnecessary tests, or to bill a doctor's rate for tests performed by a nurse. In another instance, investigators played an audio tape of one seminar where a consultant suggested scheduling Medicare and Medicaid patients only at certain inconvenient hours of the day, to free up appointment slots for patients with higher-paying insurance.

Health care consulting groups said doctors need their services to navigate the extremely complex regulations of insurance billing.

But unethical consultants could spell trouble for doctors, who may be breaking the law if they follow bad advice.

CNN Medical Correspondent Rea Blakey has more.

• The United States General Accounting Office
• National Association of Healthcare Consultants
• American Association of Healthcare Consultants
• Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

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