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Study Backs Benefits of Physician-Own Hospitals

Study argues it’s a mistake to judge physician-owned hospitals by just looking at those that specialize in narrow types of services

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Washington, September 8, 2015 | comments

Washington, DC — Today Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Members Kevin Brady (R-TX), Sam Johnson (R-TX), and Kenny Marchant (R-TX) released the following joint statement on a new peer-reviewed study published by the British Medical Journal which concluded that physician-owned hospitals are not cherry-picking patients or limiting themselves to the most lucrative types of procedures and operations.

"Physician-owned hospitals in America provide our communities with access to high-quality health care services. But outdated laws that limit choices for local patients have prevented hospitals owned by trusted doctors from expanding their services to serve the increasing needs of patients. The recently released study offers new evidence supporting the important work of these hospitals and is yet another reason Congress should act now to remove the arbitrary moratorium on physician-owned hospital expansion.”

Background: The study, authored by doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard School of Public Health and The University of California, San Francisco and published by one of the world’s oldest and most respected medical journals, disputes more than a decade of previous research into the topic and concludes it was a mistake to judge physician-owned hospitals by just looking at those that specialize in narrow types of services. Of the doctor-owned hospitals the researchers identified 99 were specialty hospitals, but the majority, 120, were general acute hospitals. Those hospitals had sicker patients and more low-income and minority patients than did the specialty hospitals, even though both types were owned by doctors. Together, patients at physician-owned hospitals were slightly healthier than those at hospitals doctors did not own, but patients had similar death rates and faced the same numbers of chronic diseases.

On May 21, 2015, Representative Sam Johnson introduced H.R. 2513, a bill that allows existing hospitals with physician ownership to add beds, operating rooms and procedure rooms when necessary.

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