Bipartisan bill introduced to lift ban on physician-owned hospitals


Two lawmakers from Texas introduced a bill June 4 to repeal restrictions put on physician-owned hospitals under the ACA.

The ACA placed a number of restrictions on physician-owned hospitals, based on concerns that the facilities pose conflicts of interest; they could lead physicians to refer to hospitals they have ownership in, pick healthier patients or order unnecessary tests and services, for example. Restrictions include capping beds and operating rooms, restricting patient referrals and limiting physician ownership.

However, proponents say physician-owned hospitals are more accountable, more efficient and have less administrative overhead. It is no surprise the bill to remove red tape around physician-owned hospitals comes out of Texas, as it has the most physician-owned hospitals of any state in the nation, according to the trade association Texas Physician Hospitals.

U.S. House Rep. Michael Burgess, MD, R-Texas, and Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, co-sponsored the bill, H.R. 3062 or "the Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2019."

"Physician-owned hospitals deliver high-quality care to American patients. It is wrong that the Affordable Care Act limits physicians' ability to own and run hospitals," Dr. Burgess said in a statement.


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