Texas is the uninsured capital of America, creating competition for a dwindling supply of paying patients. Rather than limiting patient choice, Texas should focus on increasing health insurance coverage and assuring high-quality care regardless of setting or ownership dynamics. The Texas Association of Business and many hospitals have been trying to restrict physician ownership of facilities and equipment.
Medicine’s 2009 Agenda
- Ensure that responsible ownership, whether by a physician or hospital, is patient-centered and includes a commitment to appropriate peer review of utilization, quality, and safety to ensure the highest quality care.
- Promote transparent transactions, governance, and ownership by physicians, allied health providers, and hospitals alike. Disclosure should apply to all financial relationships, such as investors, employed physicians, and paid directorships.
- Physician-owned hospitals are not new. Physicians founded many of the nation’s first hospitals to ensure appropriate care for their patients.
- Physicians have an obligation to advance improvements in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients, including innovations in medical technology.
- Referrals to a physician-owned entity or entity in which the physician has a financial relationship must be based on the patient’s medical needs.
- Physician-owned entities should adhere to all state and federal regulations; provide appropriate credentialing of physicians, and clinical and support staff; monitor utilization and quality; and adhere to relevant TMA and American Medical Association ethical guidelines.