Physician-owned hospital fights reform limits

Physician Hospitals of America (PHA) has filed a formal notice of appeal in its ongoing battle against growth restrictions in the healthcare reform law that make it nearly impossible for physician-owned hospitals to expand, according to PHA.

PHA and its coplaintiff, Texas Spine and Joint Hospital in Tyler, Texas, are arguing that provisions that prevent new or expanding physician-owned hospitals from qualifying for Medicare are unconstitutional, as well as limit patient access to high-quality hospitals. 

Thanks to the provisions, Texas Spine's $35 million expansion project to add 20 Medicare beds is at a standstill, notes the Healthcare Investor.

Medicare, which provides healthcare coverage to all Americans over 65, is the nation's largest health plan. Without it, providers would struggle to operate profitably, notes the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Although there are currently 275 physician-owned hospitals serving patients in 33 states, that number will soon be reduced by two. Indiana University Health decided to switch two of its physician-owned hospitals to nonprofit status, notes the Indianapolis Business Journal. Officials cited provisions in the reform law as the reason to remove physician ownership.

For more:
- read the PHA press release
- here's the Indianapolis Business Journal article
- read the Healthcare Investor article