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Bill Would Lift Moratorium on Construction and Expansion of Physician-Owned Hospitals

Texas Congressman continues to fight for repeal.

Published: February 22, 2017

THIRD ATTEMPT Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced similar bills in 2013 and 2015.

Is the Affordable Care Act's ban on new construction and expansion of physician-owned hospitals justified? A 2015 study in the British Medical Journal questioned the rationale behind the moratorium, and a crusading Texas Congressman has updated and reintroduced a bill that would lift it.

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), a longtime advocate for physician-owned hospitals and a longtime foe of Obamacare, last week introduced the "Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2017." The proposal would also make it easier for physician-owned hospitals to expand.

Rep. Johnson introduced similar legislation in 2013 and 2015, and spoke out against the then-proposed ban in early 2009.

An editorial by R. Blake Curd, MD, president of Physician Hospitals of America, argues that "physician-owned hospitals are widely recognized as among the top performing and most affordable hospitals nationwide," adding that among the highest-rated hospitals in fiscal year 2017, as designated by CMS's Value-Based Purchasing Program, 7 of the top 10, and 40 of the top 100, were physician-owned.

General hospitals have long opposed physician-owned specialty hospitals, claiming that they siphon away the best and most certain reimbursement, leaving community hospitals with the more acutely ill patients and those who are uninsured or have coverage through public programs.

Jim Burger

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