The current moratorium on construction of new physician-owned specialty
hospitals should be extended until next January, the Medicare Payment Advisory
Commission (MedPAC) advised Congress on March 8.
The moratorium is set to expire on June 8. MedPAC chairman Glenn M.
Hackbarth said it should be extended to allow more time to assess whether
such facilities foster or deter quality health care delivery.
Proponents argue that physician-owned specialty hospitals operate more
efficiently and have higher-quality outcomes than conventional community hospitals
because they take advantage of financial incentives for physicians and hospitals.
But skeptics counter that these facilities compete unfairly by concentrating
on only the most lucrative procedures and treating the healthiest and best-insured
patients, leaving community hospitals to care for the sickest and poorest
patients. Self-referral by physician investors is also a concern.
Mitka M. Physician-Owned Hospitals. JAMA. 2005;293(14):1718. doi:10.1001/jama.293.14.1718-a