In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, four Republican lawmakers called an amendment to a war supplemental spending bill a classic earmark that would ultimately harm physician-owned hospitals. Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), along with Reps. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) said certain language in the amendment limits physicians opportunity to own hospitals.
According to the letter, the amendment includes a prohibition on new physician-owned hospitals built after this September; offers no protection for any hospital under development as of that date; and protects only a few hospitals in a handful of states. Also, hospitals that meet what the lawmakers called extreme qualifications would be able only to ask for permission to expand, rather than to grow at will.
This is simply a national certificate-of-need program and the purpose of including it is to only ensure that that growth would be controlled at a federal level and access to it would likely be denied to almost every physician-owned hospital, according to the letter. Passed in the House, the spending bill was later amended in the Senate, and the House is now considering the Senates changes, according to a spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee. -- by Jessica Zigmond