Ohio state legislator Ray Miller, a Democrat representing the Columbus area, introduced two bills in the General Assembly to dampen growth of freestanding, for-profit specialty hospitals in the state. The first proposal would prohibit doctors from referring patients to facilities in which they have a financial stake, and the second would revive state certificate-of-need review for new hospital construction and other big-ticket healthcare items. Following groundbreaking earlier this year on an orthopedic specialty hospital outside Columbus, the boards of OhioHealth and Mount Carmel Health System voted to restrict privileges for doctors investing in competing specialty hospitals. The hospitals said they would lose millions of dollars to the for-profit joint venture involving 28 doctors and Surgical Alliance Corp., Nashville. The Ohio Hospital Association doesn't support reviving CON review but may back Miller's other proposal, OHA spokeswoman Mary Yost said. "Our board has said they hope to see legislation that would expand existing Stark law provisions and extend those prohibitions to physician investors," Yost said. Physician representatives and Surgical Alliance could not be reached for comment at deadline. -- by Mark Taylor
Specialty hospital spread prompts backlash in Ohio
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.