A year ago, Congress passed a ban on physician self-referral to physician-owned hospitals, but provided grandfather status for those existing hospitals with a Medicare provider agreement as of Dec. 31, 2010.
Last month, Physician Hospitals of America—the industry trade group representing physician-owned facilities—supported the two bills that would repeal the provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to ban future physician investment, place caps on existing physician investment and restrict these facilities from expanding.
In their April 6 letter, the three groups opposed to physician-owned hospital expansion contend that self-referral “skews the marketplace in favor of physician owners who self-refer the healthiest and wealthiest patients to their own facilities,” which results in unlevel playing field that threatens both patient safety and the healthcare safety net that community hospitals provide.
"Conflict of interest is inherent in these arrangements and to once again allow for their proliferation would prove to be a giant step backwards for both consumers and taxpayers,” the associations wrote in the April 6 letter. “For these reasons, we are asking for your strong opposition to these new House bills.”