If reform efforts waver, could physicians-hospital ban go away?

One of the many hot-button issues included in current health reform legislation involves a ban on additional construction of physician-own hospitals beginning August 1st.

While the ban seemed likely to remain in place if health reform proceeded as expected, members of the Physician Hospitals of America are growing cautiously optimistic that these provisions will be removed or weakened now that the balance of partisan power has shifted in in the U.S. Senate.

To be sure, they're still encouraging members to take care. PHA officials are advising physician hospitals to hold off on actually beginning construction before the startling, last-minute changes in the Senate actually hit home.

On the other hand, the group is holding off on plans to file a lawsuit challenging the ban on new physician-owned hospital constructions, suggesting that they feel there's reason for hope.

Still, PHA Executive Director Molly Sandvig is keeping members on their toes. She warns that even if the ban doesn't stick to health reform legislation, it might still be attached to other upcoming bills, such as legislation that could emerge to avert an automatic 21 percent cut in physician fees under Medicare.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this Becker's ASC Review piece

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