During the 1970s and '80s, Mike Bromberg, then head of the Federation of American Hospitals, debated New England Journal of Medicine editor Dr. Arnold Relman nearly 30 times on the issue of for-profit hospitals' right to exist.
That question now is firmly settled. Fifty years after it was founded—mostly by physician-owned hospital leaders who wanted a say in how the new Medicare program paid their facilities—the federation and the for-profit hospitals it represents have established themselves as respected members in the nation's healthcare system and an influential healthcare lobbying force in Washington.
Chip Kahn, the CEO since 2001, boasts that his organization spearheaded a quality-of-care initiative that led to formation of the National Quality Forum. He also touts the federation's work with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association to support passage of the Affordable Care Act.