TMA, Other States to Congress: Lift Bans on Physician-Owned Hospitals

The Affordable Care Act’s moratorium on physician-owned hospital growth has limited patients’ access to high-quality health care and unnecessarily increased costs for the Medicare program and its patients, a coalition of state medical associations told federal lawmakers last month.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders, the Coalition of State Medical Societies — which includes TMA — urged lawmakers to support legislation that would lift the moratorium on physician-owned hospitals (POHs) written into the ACA.

“With doctors at their helm, POHs are able to provide patient-centered care that has produced better health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries while reducing unnecessary readmissions,” the letter states. “Lifting the POH moratorium also would inject much-needed competition into the hospital market, which in turn would improve patient choice and reduce spending for the Medicare program and beneficiaries.”

Meanwhile, TMA sent its own letter signed by President Carlos J. Cardenas, MD, to all Texas lawmakers in Washington, urging them also to support lifting the POH moratorium. 

Among other things, the ACA provision prohibits new doctor investment in hospitals that take Medicare patients and requires doctors to tell patients about any financial connections with hospitals they send them to for treatment.

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Richardson) introduced a bill in the U.S. House to repeal ACA bans on new construction of POHs and calls for them to participate in Medicare and Medicaid.

“We believe that lifting this moratorium would advance Congress’ bipartisan goals of reducing burdens on physicians and providers, improving patient choice, and promoting higher quality, lower cost care,” the coalition’s letter concludes

TMA in 2011 supported an unsuccessful lawsuit, Physician Hospitals of America and Texas Spine & Joint Hospital v. Kathleen Sebelius, filed in a federal court in Tyler, that challenged that provision. 

Action, Nov. 15, 2017

Last Updated On

November 15, 2017

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