TMA, AMA Want to Lift Ban on New Physician-Owned Hospitals

TMA and the American Medical Association aren't too thrilled with legal limitations placed on the expansion of physician-owned hospitals. The organizations told Congress just that in a letter of support for HR 2513, legislation introduced by Reps. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) and Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas) that would partially lift the ban on new physician-owned hospitals and also address limitations on the growth of existing facilities. 

The Congressional Research Service's summary of the bill indicates the Promoting Access, Competition, and Equity Act of 2015, or PACE Act, amends Medicare "to ease application criteria and procedures for physician-owned hospitals to expand their facilities. Under current law, expansion of physician-owned hospitals is subject to certain limitations, such as those regarding the extent and frequency of expansion and requiring community output. The bill suspends these limitations with respect to applications for expansion filed before October 1, 2019."

The bill also "exempts physician-owned hospitals from specified documentation and coding adjustments, and extends reductions in certain inflationary increases associated with Medicare payments for inpatient hospital services."

In the letter, TMA, AMA, and 40 other medical societies and organizations say they oppose the provision in the Affordable Care Act that "strictly prohibits any new physician-owned hospitals from participating in Medicare and Medicaid." The organizations add that provision of ACA creates an "unlevel playing field in the health care system for one particular model of hospital ownership."

"The inability of physician-owned hospitals to address the growing demand for high quality health care services in their community is bad for our entire health care system and does nothing but penalize patients who should have the right to receive care at the hospital of their choice," the letter states. 

Action, Dec. 15, 2015