Medical liability reform, physician-owned hospitals and collaborative partnerships were topics of interest at a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing about ensuring affordable coverage. In his written remarks to the subcommittee, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the full committees ranking member, said medical-liability reform improves healthcare. In Texas, he said, voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2003 that included a limit on noneconomic damages. He said that measure has resulted in physicians returning to Texas, which, in turn, provides better care for patients. Barton also invited subcommittee members to visit a physician-owned facility in Texas to see firsthand what benefits those hospitals provide.
Patients like receiving their care at these facilities; physicians and nurses like working at these facilities; and these facilities continue to top the charts in terms of healthcare quality, Barton said in his written remarks. You dont have to take my word for it; visit any physician-run hospital and you can see for yourself. I would extend an open invitation to anybody on this committee to come to my district and visit a number of physician-owned hospital facilities in my district.
Molly Sandvig, executive director of Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Physician Hospitals of America, was not at the hearing but provided a written statement from the group that said physician-owned hospitals are providing additional access to patients.
Due to the increasing inclination of hospital systems to offload smaller, less-profitable hospitals, physicians are entering markets by purchasing those discarded hospitals and keeping them alive, Sandvigs statement said. This trend has shown particular application in rural and inner-city markets.