Arizona is the latest target in the Senate Finance Committees ongoing battle against specialty hospitals after the committee learned that more than 150 specialty-hospital patients were transferred to community hospitals for emergency-care services.
In a form letter dated Aug. 23, Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the committee, and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committees ranking member, asked a series of questions of the Surgery Center of Scottsdale, Biltmore Surgical Center in Phoenix, Arizona Surgical Specialists Center in Tempe, Arizona Spine and Joint Hospital in Mesa and Orthopedic Surgery Center of Arizona in Phoenix after a Phoenix television station this summer reported that more than 150 patients in 10 area specialty hospitals were transferred because, the letter said, the facilities were unable to handle their patients medical emergencies.
The hospitals are required to answer a long list of questions, including if Medicare or Medicaid paid for any portion of patient care; if a physician was on duty at the time of the call; if the physician accompanied the patient to the hospital; and whether the patient suffered any permanent damage or harm. Baucus and Grassley have asked for a response by Aug. 31.
A hospital ought to be able to treat complications quickly and on-site, or it shouldnt be called a hospital and allowed to perform serious surgery, Grassley said in a news release. The more I hear about surgery at specialty hospitals, the more concerned I am. -- by Jessica Zigmond
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