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Wednesday, May 7th 2003

The Honorable Jerry Kleczka
U.S. House of Representatives
2217 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Rep. Kleczka:

On behalf of the American Hospital Association (AHA) and its more than 5,000 member hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care, I am writing to commend your introduction of the Hospital Investment Act of 2003.

This measure seeks to address our shared concern that the rapid growth of physician-owned specialty hospitals is inconsistent with the intent and purpose of current law designed to avoid physician conflicts of interest that result from self-referral to entities in which they have an ownership interest.  The growth of these specialty hospitals is also threatening the viability of general community hospitals and presents grave access and quality of care concerns for patients.  We agree that it is important to fine-tune the law to close current loopholes.  To this end, your bill focuses on requiring that investment terms offered to physicians also be available to the general public.

This is an important first step. The AHA also feels that there are additional ways to address physician conflicts of interest related to their investment and referral relationships and to avoid undercutting the role that general community hospitals play in providing the medical safety net for their communities.

The AHA appreciates your interest and dedication to this issue, and we look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with you and other members to enact legislation that will protect the public's interest in maintaining access to essential services.


Rick Pollack
Executive Vice President


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