Physician-owned hospitals file lawsuit over ban

Yet another group has resorted to using the federal court system to get the government to hear a message that has been falling on deaf ears. This time, it's a group of physician-owned hospitals in Texas, suing for a stop to the new healthcare law's ban on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to future doctor-owned facilities, reports the Dallas Morning News.

The complaint, set to be filed in a Tyler, Texas, court this morning, alleges that two large hospital associations made a deal with Congress and the Obama administration last year acquiescing to lower Medicare reimbursements in exchange for the ban on payments to future physician-owned hospitals.

Supporters of the ban say that physician-owners have a conflict of interest and too much power to cherry-pick the best-paying patients, while opponents such as Physician Hospitals of America say that the restrictions on these facilities will limit access in areas where they are desperately needed.

The Dallas-Fort Worth-area has more than 22 physician-owned hospitals. Nationwide, there are 265, with an additional 29 set to open before Dec. 31, when the new law bars federal payments.

The law would also withhold federal reimbursements to physician-owned hospitals that expand after the end of the year, a threat that has already halted construction on at least 27 facilities throughout the country.

To learn more:
- read this article in the Dallas Morning News
- check out this press release from the Physician Hospitals of America