More than half of planned physician-owned hospitals could miss reform deadline

If the existing Senate health reform bill were to pass as written, it would include restrictions on physician-owned hospitals that would prevent construction of new facilities, but grandfather in those built and operating by August 1 of next year.

Even with this improved deadline, which was pushed back from February 2010, about 75 of the 127 physician-owned hospitals under construction wouldn't be ready in time, according to an assessment by trade group the Physician Hospitals of America.

PHA leaders are now pushing to move up the deadline to Jan. 1, 2014, as well as loosen up growth restrictions on existing physician-owned hospitals. As the language is currently written, existing physician-owned facilities would not be allowed to add beds, operating rooms or procedure rooms unless they met four requirements. However, none currently meet those standards, according to PHA executive director Molly Sandvig.

If the language doesn't change, physician-owned facilities will end up restructuring their ownership to pass at least some control (and income) on to non-physicians, she said.

Get more information on the PHA's protest:
- read this Becker's ASC Review piece

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