The American Surgical Hospital Association changed its name to Physician Hospitals of America to focus on its purpose of promoting for-profit hospitals with physician owners. The group, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., made the announcement at its annual meeting in Newport Beach, Calif. About 330 people are attending the meeting, up from about 190 last year, said Molly Gutierrez, executive director of the 5-year-old association. Gutierrez and others attributed increased attendance and the meeting’s upbeat mood partly to the August expiration of a federal moratorium on new physician-owned hospitals. The group provides advocacy and educational services for physician-owned hospitals, and its members include vendors, developers and individuals as well as hospitals.
About 125 U.S. hospitals nationwide have at least partial physician ownership, and additional development is expected, officials said. "What we’re seeing is an evolving model of physician-owned hospitals," said Randy Fenninger, the group’s lobbyist. "The value of ownership is not limited to surgical specialties."