The Courts: Doc-Owned Hospitals Protest Health Law, New Sutter Hospital Challenged
Lawyers for doctor-owned hospitals will make the case today that the health law unfairly curbs their business model before a judge in Tyler, Texas, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The judge will decide whether the case will move forward in response to the federal government's motions to dismiss. "The plaintiffs are trying to reverse the part of the federal health care law that prevents the expansion of current doctor-owned hospitals and bars the creation of new ones that would participate in Medicare programs." The lead plaintiff in the case is the Texas Spine and Joint Hospital, in Tyler, and it is one of the early challenges to the health law to come before a judge (Eaton, 9/28).
The hospital "was undertaking a $30 million expansion project when the bill passed," KETK, a Texas NBC affiliate, reports. "Dr. Michael Russell, a spinal surgeon says it's the patients that will benefit from expansions. 'We need to be able to meet those needs. Tyler is a community that's growing. Especially in the Medicare population. And in order to take care of those patients, for the economy in Tyler to continue to grow, we need this ability to grow,' Russell said" (Claiborne, 9/28).
Separately, another lawsuit is warming up in northern California, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. "Hospitals in Healdsburg and Sebastopol, joined by an environmental group and a labor union, are suing Sutter Health and Sonoma County over last month's approval of a new $284 million Sutter Hospital north of Santa Rosa. ... The suit reiterates two objections to the hospital that were voiced during the lengthy debate: It is too far from county population centers and will 'encourage driving and discourage transit use.' [and] It may result in the 'downsizing or closure' of district hospitals and other medical facilities." Sutter "could not be reached for comment" about the suit (Wilkison and Kovner, 9/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.