The AHA today urged Congress to reject H.R. 2513 “and all other attempts to skew the health care marketplace in favor of physicians who self-refer patients to hospitals they own,” saying the legislation would promote neither access nor competition. The bill, introduced last week by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), would loosen current restrictions on the growth of physician-owned hospitals. “Physician self-referral is the antithesis of competition,” wrote AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack. “It allows physicians to steer their most profitable cases to facilities they own – facilities that often call 9-1-1 to handle their emergencies and are frequently located in the most affluent areas. By cherry-picking the highest-paying procedures, physician-owners inflate health care costs and drain essential resources from community hospitals, which depend on a balance of services and patients to provide indispensable treatment, such as behavioral health and trauma care. By increasing the presence of these self-referral arrangements, H.R. 2513 would only further destabilize community care.”