Hospital Group Criticizes CMS Specialty Hospital Plan
A CMS plan for regulation of physician-owned specialty hospitals would "neither meaningfully change the behavior of specialty hospitals or level the playing field for full-service community hospitals," the Federation of American Hospitals said in an Aug. 10 statement, CQ HealthBeat reports (Carey, CQ HealthBeat, 8/14).
The Bush administration on Aug. 8 announced the plan, which would require specialty hospitals to provide the federal government with information about their "investment and compensation relationships with physicians." Hospitals that specialize in cardiac, orthopedic or surgical care would have to inform patients of any "investment interest" a staff physician has in the facility.
Under the plan, specialty hospitals that failed to comply with the requirements would face civil penalties of as much as $10,000 daily (California Healthline, 8/10).
However, FAH said that the plan "fails to prescribe the medicine necessary to address the symptoms of physician ownership of, and self-referral to, specialty hospitals." The plan also "falls short by not addressing the core issue of conflict of interest," FAH said.
According to CQ HealthBeat, FAH asked CMS to "close what's known as the whole-hospital loophole, which permits self-referral if the ownership stake is in an entire hospital rather than in some smaller subset of health care."
In related news, Advanced Medical Technology Association President and CEO Stephen Ubl in an Aug.10 statement said the group has concerns about a proposed rule issued by CMS on Aug. 8 that would reduce reimbursements for medical imaging services. The rule would continue to impose a 25% reduction in reimbursements for the preparation of additional medical images of contiguous body parts and would implement a statutory requirement that payments for certain medical imaging devices used in individual physician offices not exceed those for devices used in hospital outpatient departments.
Ubl said that AdvaMed would lobby lawmakers to "mitigate the effects" of the rule (CQ HealthBeat, 8/14).