Abbott to DC: End Moratorium on Physician-Owned Hospitals
By David Doolittle

Abbot_hospitalsGov. Greg Abbott weighed in recently on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) moratorium on physician-owned hospitals, telling Texas’ Republican lawmakers in Washington to support legislation to repeal those restrictions.

In a letter dated Feb. 22, Governor Abbott echoes what the Texas Medical Association and other health care professionals and organizations have been saying for a while: The moratorium has hurt patients by preventing them from obtaining access to quality, affordable health care.

The letter encourages “GOP Members of the Texas Congressional Delegation” to support legislation introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Plano) that would repeal the ACA’s restrictions on physician-owned hospitals.

The letter cites several examples of how the prohibition has limited patient access to care, including in the Rio Grande Valley and in Houston during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey last year.

“East Houston Regional Medical Center has permanently ceased operations as a result of damage sustained during the hurricane,” the letter said. “Because of the prohibition against the expansion of physician-owned hospitals, nearby CHI St. Luke’s Health-Patients Medical Center cannot expand its number of beds and supporting services to accommodate the needs of the communities previously served by East Houston Regional Medical Center.”

Abbott’s call came on the heels of a letter from the Physicians Advocacy Institute that urged lawmakers to re-examine health care policies to ensure they promote competition and put private physicians on a level playing field with hospitals and other corporate entities. PAI’s letter specifically mentioned physician-owned hospital restrictions.

In person last month and in October via letter, TMA and the Coalition of State Medical Societies pressed lawmakers to support Representative Johnson’s legislation. Also in October, TMA sent its own letter signed by President Carlos J. Cardenas, MD, to all Texas lawmakers in Washington, urging them to support lifting the physician-owned hospital moratorium.

Last Updated On

March 02, 2018

David Doolittle

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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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