Physician-owned hospital wins Medicare approval days before ban

A physician-owned hospital in Addison, Texas, was built at warp speed and received a Medicare provider number just three days before the ban on new physician-owned hospitals took effect, the Dallas Morning News reports. The certification allows the new Methodist Hospital for Surgery to accept Medicare patients.

The 32-bed, $60 million hospital, which is co-owned by physicians and Methodist Health System in Dallas, was supposed to open in January 2011 at the earliest. After the reform law passed in March 2010 prohibiting physician-owned hospitals from opening after Dec. 31, the pressure was on to finish the hospital faster than planned.

In response, the co-owners fast-tracked work on the 100,000 square-foot facility. Builders worked twice as fast, accelerating to two 10-hour shifts a day, six days a week, according to the Morning News. Equipment deliveries also were sped up so that staff would have enough time to train and earn required certifications.

The hospital ultimately won its certification from Medicare on Dec. 29.

Not all physician-owned hospitals have been so lucky. Officials at one that didn't get certified--the Texas Spine and Joint Hospital in Tyler, Texas--have filed a lawsuit contesting the healthcare reform law.

To learn more:
- read the Dallas Morning News article