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Monday, January 14, 2008

OWNERSHIP, TORT PROTECTIONS HIGH ON FORUM LIST

We ran out of room in last week’s ’Gram before we could finish summarizing the discussions from the TEXPAC Grassroots Forum in San Antonio. We can expect both Congress and the 2009 Texas Legislature to make another run at restricting physicians’ right to own hospitals and other facilities. TMA must start early to educate lawmakers on our “responsible ownership” position: The focus should be not on who owns the medical facility — a physician, a nonprofit entity, or a for-profit company — but on how that facility delivers patient care. If overutilization or deviations from quality care are the issues, legislators should address those problems regardless of ownership. Many forum participants also reinforced the need for TMA to staunchly protect the 2003 liability reforms, especially emergency room provisions. The forum was TMA’s second in a series of advocacy strategic planning conferences. We will continue to work with specialty society leaders and lobbyists to prepare and advance our positions on the issues.

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