Lankford, Colleagues Continue to Push for More Options in Quality Health Care for Oklahomans

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK), a member of the Senate Finance Committee with jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid, reintroduced the Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act to remove the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) ban on the creation and expansion of physician-owned hospitals (POHs). Lankford’s bill would allow POHs to participate in Medicare and Medicaid as well as increase competition among hospitals with lower costs and expanded access to quality care for more Americans. Lankford was joined in introducing the bill by Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), John Boozman (R-AR), John Barrasso (R-WY), Todd Young (R-IN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Rand Paul (R-KY).

“One of the hidden features of the Affordable Care Act passed more than a decade ago was a permanent restriction on the growth of physician-owned hospitals. Oklahomans want the freedom to choose the hospital of their choice, including high-quality physician-owned hospitals, for their care,” said Lankford. “We should not restrict patients and punish providers by forbidding participation in Medicare or Medicaid just because President Obama didn’t like physician-owned hospitals. I look forward to the Senate passing my bill to assure physician-owned hospitals are available to Oklahomans and the nation.” 

“Physician-Led Healthcare for America (PHA) applauds Senator Lankford and the original cosponsors of this bill for their vision in introducing legislation that would expand patient access to the high quality healthcare services of physician-led hospitals. Expansion of physician-led hospitals represents an immediate solution to help counter our country’s pervasive problem of hospital market consolidation by providing patients a choice of treatment options through expanding our public health infrastructure and its capacity. We urge Congress to step forward and enact this important legislation swiftly,” said Frederic Liss, MD, President of PHA.

“As the largest provider of cardiovascular care in the state of Oklahoma we appreciate Senator Lankford’s efforts. The Oklahoma Heart Hospital has been in the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in patient satisfaction for the last 20 years and is in the top decile in quality metrics.  It seems obvious that hospitals that provide top tier care should be allowed to grow.  Competition is healthy and artificial restrictions to reward lower performing hospitals and allow monopolistic behavior should be discouraged.  Senator Lankford is a champion of improving health care for all Americans,” said John R. Harvey, M.D., CEO of Oklahoma Heart Hospital.

POHs represent less than five percent of the nearly 6,000 hospitals nationwide. However, POHs continue to successfully provide individualized and innovative care in the communities they serve. They remain poised to meet a growing demand for health care access. Seventy-five percent of all POHs have earned three or more stars in CMS’ Hospital Stars Program, and 40 percent of them have earned five stars.