The debate over physician-owned hospitals has made its way into the U.S. presidential race as advocates and opponents outlined their respective arguments in letter-writing campaigns to candidates. Together, the American Hospital Association and the Iowa Hospital Association sent letters to presidential candidates addressing issues that a group of Iowa physicians from the Siouxland Surgery Center in South Dakota highlighted in their own correspondence to presidential hopefuls.
While each of you has issued a healthcare policy paper or plan, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee is poised to wipe out nearly 200 of Americas physician-run hospitals at the urging of a few politicians and the huge hospital chains for whom they seem to work, the Siouxland physicians wrote. Paradoxically, Siouxland Surgery Center partners with Mercy Medical Center of Sioux City, Iowa, a member of the Iowa Hospital Association.
Calling it a misleading missive, the AHA and IHA said the Siouxland letter is filled with misinformation and does a great disservice to the full-service community hospitals across the nation that care for patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The two groups then proceeded to respond to the assertions in the Siouxland letter, point by point, referring to many statements as myths. Previously, the AHA has said it opposes the issue of physician self-referral.
Really what their issue is about is competition and the bottom line, according to Molly Sandvig, executive director of Physician Hospitals of America, which represents 108 physician-owned hospitals. They have never shown any proof of one of their hospitals closing, or closing a department after one of our physician-owned hospitals (opened) in their community. We cant see the logic. -- by Jessica Zigmond