Physician-owned hospitals hoping to benefit from ACA repeal

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aimed to limit the growth of physician-owned hospitals by barring existing facilities from expanding and forcing any new ones to survive without Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement. With the law’s fate now in the hands of a Republican-controlled Congress and White House, advocates for these hospitals hope those restrictions will disappear.

Previous studies have shown development of those hospitals slowed to a crawl after 2010. As reported by the Washington Examiner, physician-owned hospitals estimate the law prevented 30,000 jobs from being created and $200 million in new tax revenue being generated thanks to planned hospitals or expansions not moving forward.

“On everything the government has said healthcare reform is supposed to be about, we are leading the pack," said R. Blake Curd, MD, CEO of Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital in South Dakota. “I think they are mad we're better at it. ... They should partner with us and learn from us about how good healthcare can be delivered.”

The new administration at CMS has asked for comments from the industry on rolling back some of those restrictions. Other hospital groups, such as the American Hospital Association, are pressing for the restrictions to stay in place, arguing physician-owned facilities will improperly refer patients to facilities in which they have a financial interest, order unnecessary procedures and try to avoid unprofitable patients.

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