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Burgess Urges CMS Action on Physician-Owned Hospitals

Washington, D.C. — Earlier this month, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, led a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma encouraging the agency to optimize the role of physician-owned hospitals (POHs). Joined by more than 30 fellow Members of Congress, Dr. Burgess urged CMS to design a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) demonstration that expands access to these providers, which receive some of the highest ratings in Medicare’s quality programs.

“Physician-owned hospitals play an important role in providing quality, efficient, and cost-effective care in modern medicine. Patient care begins and ends with doctors, and no one is more aware of this fact than physicians themselves,” said Dr. Burgess. “It is wrong that the Affordable Care Act penalizes physicians simply for the two letters behind their name. Through innovation, CMS can optimize the role of physician-owned hospitals to improve health care for American patients, restoring doctors’ liberty and expanding Americans’ access to quality care.” 

“Given the high quality of care furnished by [physician-owned hospitals] and the ongoing issues with hospital consolidations, we think it would be beneficial to launch a CMMI demonstration that aims to expand patient access to these quality providers,” write the lawmakers. “Such a demonstration would be consistent with your efforts to reward providers ‘that deliver coordinated, quality care, at the best value.’” 

This approach has earned the support of industry leaders, including the Physician Hospitals of America (PHA) and the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

“As a physician, Dr. Burgess recognizes that doctors are best suited to make decisions that benefit patients, from the moment they enter the hospital through appropriate follow-up care,” explained John Dietz, MD, President of PHA.  Dr. Dietz added, “On behalf of our patients, we appreciate Dr. Burgess’ support as physician-owned hospitals deliver some of the best healthcare in America.  We look forward to proving this through a CMMI demonstration.”

“The demonstration model is critically important for expanding patients’ access to some of the highest quality and best value care in the industry—it will lower costs, improve competition, and empower patients in their treatment decisions,” said American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons President Kristy L. Weber, MD. “The AAOS thanks Congressman Burgess for leading this effort and strongly encourages the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to accept this model.”

The full text of the letter is available here.