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Senator Lankford Introduces Bill to Allow Physician-Owned Hospitals to Have a Level Playing Field

WASHINGTON, DC — Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today released the Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2017, which lifts the ban on the creation and expansion of physician-owned hospitals and allows these hospitals to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. Lifting this ban will increase hospital competition, which will lower costs and expand access to quality care for more Americans, especially those with Medicare and Medicaid. 

Section 6001 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits approximately 250 existing physician-owned hospitals from expanding to meet community needs, and it also prohibits any new hospitals with physician ownership from participating in Medicare or Medicaid. The only way for these hospitals to avoid the Obamacare requirements is to completely stop providing care to Medicare and Medicaid patients. This significantly limits access and choice at a time when more and more providers are dropping Medicare and Medicaid patients because of the low level of reimbursement from these programs. By repealing this provision (Section 6001) of Obamacare, hospital competition, innovation, and access to care would increase.

“Obamacare is not working for most Americans, costs have skyrocketed and choices have diminished,” said Lankford. “There are many smaller health care reform steps that can target specific problems within health care. The Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2017 will increase competition, which will lower health care costs and expand quality of care by empowering smaller physician-owned hospitals to innovate and tailor their services to the communities they serve. We need strong general care hospitals in Oklahoma, but that should not preclude smaller innovative hospitals from also providing care.”

CLICK HERE to see the list of the 18 physician-owned hospitals in Oklahoma. Nationwide, they represent less than five percent of the 5,700 hospitals nationwide. However, physician-owned hospitals have a successful track record of providing individualized and innovative quality care, and they meet a growing demand for health care services, especially in rural areas.

Seventy-five percent of all physician-owned hospitals have earned three or more stars in CMS’ Hospital Stars Program; 40 percent of them have earned five stars. Seven of the top 10 hospitals receiving quality bonuses in the new federal Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program in 2015 were physician-owned hospitals.

The Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2017 (HR 1156) was introduced in the House by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) in February.