A hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho, has revoked the privileges of five doctors associated with a nearby physician-owned rival. The board of 280-bed Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, an HCA hospital, excluded the physicians for violating a 16-month-old policy, hospital spokeswoman Amy Stevens said. Under the policy, hospital privileges hinge on whether a physician disclosed a financial conflict of interest; whether the physician's patient volume had changed significantly; and whether there had been a negative change in the physician's payer mix. The five were excluded after the hospital analyzed blind data from all 187 physicians with privileges, Stevens said. The physicians are associated with 20-bed Mountain View Hospital, a 2-year-old, physician-owned facility in Idaho Falls that recently received certification from the CMS as a general acute-care hospital. "When you boil it all down, it's just absolutely blatant economic credentialing," said Dennis Tolman, chief executive officer at Mountain View. The physicians are looking at their legal options, Tolman said.
In a Jan. 30 letter to the community, Eastern Idaho's board said it had made the "hard decision" to revoke the physicians' privileges "because they chose to compete in a way that broke our privileging rules, and in a way that can't be reconciled with what's best for the community." The decision follows a similar action in Ohio, where Columbus-based OhioHealth recently revoked the privileges of 17 physicians with investments in a competing hospital. Read the Eastern Idaho letter. -- by Modern Physician/MP Stat