The AHA and Federation of American Hospitals today urged Congress to oppose S. 2860 as well as any other legislation that would repeal current law limiting self-referral to physician-owned hospitals. The bill was introduced Nov. 14. "For more than 18 years, community hospitals, policymakers, the business community and governmental advisory bodies have grappled with overutilization and higher health care costs caused by self-referral to physician-owned hospitals (POHs)," the organizations wrote. "Conflicts of interest are inherent in these arrangements, whereby physicians refer their patients to hospitals in which they have an ownership interest. Nine years ago, after a decade of studies and congressional hearings showing the adverse impact of these arrangements, Congress acted to protect the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and the taxpayers who fund them, by imposing a ban on self-referral to new POHs. … Nevertheless, some groups like the Physician Hospitals of America (PHA) continue to attempt to unwind current law. Their proposals would harm patients, community hospitals and local businesses."

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