The Texas Hospital Association is backing about a half-dozen bills related to halting the spread of physician-owned specialty hospitals in Texas, which, according to the THA, already is home to about half of all such hospitals in the nation with 47. The state lobbying effort supplements a national campaign by the American Hospital Association, which has asked Congress to extend or make permanent an 18-month ban on physician self-referrals to specialty hospitals. The THA released a report alleging that physician-owned, "limited-service" hospitals drain "essential resources" from community hospitals by offering largely high-margin services like orthopedic surgery and cardiac care. The report also said such facilities deliver less emergency care than community hospitals. One Texas bill would establish a moratorium on physicians sending patients to their own healthcare businesses for additional treatment, the THA said. Another would require physicians to disclose their business relationships with a facility when referring patients. Read the THA report. -- by Michael Romano
Texas hospitals appeal to state to limit self-referrals
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