U.S. Reps give boost to physician-owned hospitals

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In recent times, physician-owned hospitals have taken a lot of fire in Congress--but at least two U.S. Representatives say that some of the criticism is out of line. In a recent letter, sent by Reps. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) to their Congressional colleagues, the two contended that information provided by a trio of hospital groups on the subject was inaccurate. They're saying that in its recent recommendations arguing for new limits on such facilities, HHS inappropriately relied, in part, on faulty information provided by the American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals and Coalition of Full Service Community Hospitals. These groups, which feel extremely threatened by the growth of physician-owned specialty hospitals, simply misstated some key facts, the Congressmen say.

Their contention is backed up by Deputy Inspector General Stuart Wright, who says the groups' document includes several statements that misrepresent the IG's findings in a recent report on self-referral. For example, the IG's report, Prohibit Physician Self-Referral, found that 55 percent of physician-owned specialty hospitals have emergency departments, while the groups said "more than half" of such facilities lack such full service EDs.

To learn more about the controversy:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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