The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a report on “Overlap Between Physician-Owned Hospitals and Physician-Owned Distributors.”  The OIG reviewed 12 hospitals that self-identified as physician-owned and previously reported having purchased spinal devices from PODs.  The OIG attempted to determine whether physicians had an ownership interest in both a hospital and a POD that sold spinal devices to the hospital.  The OIG identified only one physician with an ownership interest in both a hospital and a POD, but noted that information about ownership interests is limited.  According to the OIG, ownership information transparency could have implications for patient safety and quality of care, since “[o]ne of the primary criticisms of PODs is that ownership may affect physicians’ clinical decisionmaking, such as influencing them to perform unnecessary surgeries or to choose a device in which they have a financial interest rather than another device that may be more appropriate for the patient.”  The OIG also observed that “Sunshine Act” reporting may improve available information going forward.  The OIG did not make any recommendations in this report, but noted that it intends to “monitor CMS’s Sunshine Act database and determine how best to assess its impact on transparency within Medicare.”