Are Physician Owned Hospitals Good for Health Care?

By PHA, Special for  USDR

Today, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing titled “Improving Competition in Medicare: Removing Moratoria and Expanding Access” at 10:00 AM EDT in Room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building.  Representing the physician-owned hospital (POH) perspective will be Joe Minissale, President of Methodist McKinney Hospital, a joint venture partnership between area physicians, the non-for-profit Methodist Health System and Nueterra.  Methodist McKinney Hospital offers specialized care for Cardiology, ENT, Gastroenterology, General Surgery, Gynecology, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pain Management, Podiatry and Primary  Care.

Minissale has spent his career both in private and community healthcare organizations turning around failing hospitals, successfully growing and stabilizing struggling rural hospitals, and opening new hospitals. He will share his experience as a higher quality, lower cost provider in his community and the ban on growth that was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act.  The law continues to have a chilling effect on the POH industry by prohibiting any new physician owned hospitals from treating Medicare and Medicaid patients and also in effect prohibiting those POHs that were grandfathered under the law from expanding.  The inability of POHs to expand their capacity meet community demand for healthcare services has negatively impacted access to higher quality, lower cost health care, particularly Medicare and Medicaid  patients.

Physician-owned hospitals account for only approximately 5% of hospitals nationwide, yet consistently outperform general non-profit and corporate-owned hospitals. On April 16, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released summary star ratings based on patient satisfaction and experience in its HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) Survey for hospitals nationwide. 67% of the participating POHs received a 4- or 5-star  rating.

“All of the very latest comparative government studies show that now is the time for our legislators to acknowledge the enormous benefit these top performing hospitals have in their communities,” stated Dr. Blake Curd, M.D, President of the Board for Physician Hospitals of America.  Under the new CMS Value-Based program that rewards or penalizes hospitals based on the quality of care they provide, seven of the top 10 and 43 of the top 100 hospitals in the country are physician owned in FY  2015.

“With such overwhelming data, why are higher-performing POHs banned from expanding their services, while under-performing hospitals without physician ownership have no similar federal restrictions on expansion?” said Curd. “This is bad for patients, bad for the long-term stability of Medicare, and bad for  taxpayers.”

Curd also addressed the special treatment for major medical centers and large hospital systems with the U.S tax system, stating, “Community hospitals enjoy non-profit status and receive additional state and national funding for serving medically underserved areas while POHs operate in the same medically underserved areas, care for a similar percentage of Medicare and Medicaid patients, yet receive no governmental assistance. Additionally, Physician-owned hospitals pay millions of dollars in local, state, and national taxes per  year.”

About Physician Hospitals o f America

PHA offers support, advocacy and educational services to the physician-owned hospital industry, reflecting at all times the best interests of patients, physicians and other providers who play an inextricable and essential role in the provision of healthcare services. There are currently 275 physician owned hospitals serving patients in 33 states. These hospitals include general acute care, long term acute care, emergency medicine, multi-specialty, women’s, children’s, rehabilitation and psychiatric. According to its HCAHPS survey data, physician-owned hospitals rank first for patient satisfaction in 20 states. For more information visit: www.phapulse.org.

SOURCE Physician Hospitals of  America

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.