Physician-Owned Hospitals Gear Up To Fight Health Law Restrictions
News outlets report on the hospital market.
CQ HealthBeat: Doctors are challenging provisions of the new health law that "seemed to spell the demise of physician-owned specialty hospitals, a fast-growing phenomenon in states such as Texas where hospital growth is largely unregulated. Lawmakers, concerned that such hospitals are emphasizing high-profit services at the expense of caring for low-income populations, effectively barred the expansion of such facilities immediately and the development of new doctor-owned facilities after Dec. 31 by cutting off Medicare reimbursements, a major source of their income." But doctors are "gearing up to fight" those restrictions in the new Congress and "are mounting a legal challenge to the limits in the law" (Norman, 11/12).
Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times: "Hospitals and doctors may soon be encouraged to do less for their patients. Health care providers around the country and region, including Mission Hospital and Crescent PPO, are considering creating partnerships among hospitals, doctors and other providers. Dubbed 'accountable care organizations,' or ACOs, the partnerships would be given incentives by the federal government to treat patients with lower-cost methods, while also improving the quality of care patients receive. Laws regulating the ACOs still have to be written and changes to the law could come with the new Congress. For now, Mission and Crescent are getting information and educating medical staff about the organizations" (Bompey, 11/15).
Denver Business Journal: "Denver's Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) plans to join its eight hospitals in Kentucky with those of two other health care authorities there to form one merged system. The plan advanced Thursday with a key vote by the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. The panel authorized university President James Ramsey to sign a letter of intent to merge University of Louisville Hospital, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare Inc. (JHSMH) and CHI's eight Kentucky hospitals. Ramsey said the newly created entity, which has not yet been named, would include a $300 million injection of capital from CHI" (Ivey, 11/13).
Newsweek: A new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which is "the first to track hospital costs in Massachusetts," found that "despite an influx of patients" under the state's 2006 health law, "total hospital costs haven't grown more than usual. New efficiencies probably helped: thousands fewer patients now use the ER for routine care or show up because of a preventable condition. And the average length of a hospital stay is down an hour per person. But University of Pennsylvania economist John Kolstad, who coauthored the study, speculates that the real heroes could have been insurers, who bargained with hospitals. If the same clout is exercised nationally, optimists may be right about reform's cost savings" (Dokoupil, 11/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.