A group of physicians and investors plans to build a $40 million surgical hospital in Loma Linda, Calif., that they say would not fall under Congress' moratorium on new physician-owned specialty hospitals because it would offer a one-bed emergency room and services such as treatment for ear, nose and throat ailments.
In addition to not meeting Congress' definition of a specialty hospital, the 28-bed California Heart and Surgical Hospital would not open until late next year, after the moratorium is scheduled to end in June 2005.
The for-profit facility would specialize in cardiovascular and orthopedic operations and recovery care. Hospital groups, including the California Healthcare Association, argue that it ought to be considered a specialty hospital and that it would cherry-pick well-insured patients needing lucrative treatments.
The project involves 36 local physicians and Medical Development Associates, Carmel, Ind.