Digital News Report – Some hospitals say that the new health care overhaul will force them to cut back on services or cancel hospitals that are in the planning stages. One report suggests that as many as 60 hospital projects have been cancelled before construction even began.
The report by CNS News cites Molly Sandvig, executive director of Physician Hospitals of America (PHA), a lobbying group that represents 260 physician owned hospitals.
The Kansas City Business Journal reports that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama could cut into the private physician’s hospital business. “Our worry is our ability to grow our business in the future,” said Heartland Spine & Specialty Hospital CEO Don Burman.
Burman admits the language is not clear but believes the physician based hospitals built after August 1st will not be eligible for Medicare reimbursement. He says the bill favors non-profit and corporate hospitals over the physician owned facilities.
The American Hospital Association (AHA), which represents more than 5,000 non-profit and corporate hospitals, says they share the vision of the Obama Administration. The two groups, the AHA and the PHA, have separate interests.
The PHA is worried that their hospitals will be denied Medicare funding because they are being built in areas of slow population growth. To qualify for Medicare funding, future hospitals need to be built in counties that have an increase in 150 percent increase in population over the state average for the past five years. Burman says that is “virtually impossible” to meet.
The Journal says that the physician hospitals are common in states that do not have a “certificate-of-need process” to approve new hospitals. The Kansas Hospital Association, a group similar to the AHA, says that non-physician owned hospitals should be compensated at a different rate because of the more limited population they serve.
Besides the population requirement, the act is supposed to require that new hospitals meet other requirements. The Medicaid inpatient admission percentage must be equal to or greater than the average for all hospitals in the county. This may not be in the best interest of the physician hospitals which cater to better-paying Medicare recipients and those with good insurance coverage.
By Mark Williams