Friday, January 23, 2009

The Obama agenda: Ending physician-owned hospitals

Oh, good grief. They crazies who are trying to destroy American health care are coming out of the wood work.

Unbelievable. Recently, the United States House of Representatives took action that would destroy the ability of physicians to develop hospitals that have higher patient satisfaction rates, lower infection rates as well as other positives.

Rep. Pete Stark, (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee and is a long-time critic of physician-owned hospitals, added language to the SCHIP bill that would likely halt new construction of doctor-owned facilities by making them unable to receive Medicare reimbursements and seriously restrict operations at existing ones.

Critics of physician-owned hospitals (including Pete Stark and officials at the American Hospital Association) say physician-owned hospitals drive up health costs because doctors with an ownership stake in a hospital will order more costly tests and procedures.

According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, the doctor-owned-hospital prohibitions included in the House version of the child-health bill would save the government $1.2 billion over 10 years in lower Medicare costs, a savings some in Congress are counting on to pay for the expansion of child coverage. The restrictions are not included in a Senate version of the SCHIP bill that is slated for a final vote in the coming days, although it could be inserted in final version that would be sent to President Barack Obama.

Brett Gosney (President of industry trade group Physician Hospitals of American) remarks that claims alleging doctor-owned facilities increase health costs are "completely outrageous and false."

According to Brett Gosney, physician-owned hospital actually save the government money because they have lower complication rates, lower infection rates and lower return-to-surgery rates than other hospitals.

Physician-owned hospitals are a great way for physicians to take back their profession. The federal government certainly cannot enact universal health care if it actually allows the physicians and surgeons to maintain professional control over their lives.

This is a situation that warrants a telephone call to your congressman now!

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