In addition to tightly limiting the growth of existing physician-owned hospitals that participate in Medicare, the Affordable Care Act calls for them to file reports identifying physician owners and investors and listing the “nature and extent” of hospital ownership and investment interests.
After the initial report, hospitals will be required to file annual updates on physician investors or verify that information on file is still correct, according to a CMS Medicare Learning Network article.
“CMS wants to have the names of all the individual physicians and their ownership percentage,” said Dr. R. Blake Curd, president-elect of Physician Hospitals of America, a trade association for doctor-owned hospitals. “We think the delay is a good start, but we think this requirement should be dissolved altogether.”
Curd, a part owner of the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Specialty Clinic, where he practices orthopedic surgery, said the requirement involves filling out a multipage form, but all the pertinent information appears to be on the first page and there has been confusion as to what exactly the CMS wants hospitals to disclose and fill out.
“CMS hasn't given terrific clarity on this issue,” Curd said, adding that physician-owned hospitals have been disclosing similar information for years already. “We're proud of the hospitals we own.”
The CMS announcement did not include an official explanation for the extension, but the agency acknowledged it had received requests to push the deadline back.
Curd called the reporting requirement a redundant, costly regulatory burden that does nothing to promote the Affordable Care Act's goals of “increasing the quality, accessibility and affordability of healthcare.”
Physician-owned hospitals can reconfigure but not add to the number of operating rooms, procedure rooms and beds that they were licensed for on March 23, 2010. A recent CMS advisory opinion allowed an unnamed 61-bed acute-care hospital jointly owned by physicians and a developer to add a 14-bed observation unit.
The hospital had to certify that the rooms would not be used for surgery or procedures and that the state in which it is located does not require observation beds to be licensed.
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