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Front-and-center regulatory scrutiny now on MD-owned hospitals

Doctor-owned medical facilities -- chiefly hospitals -- are bad for consumers and the public health.

No, wait a minute, they're a positive development that materially promotes a salutary bottom line in a truly broad-based way.

Those polar-opposite views are the core bullet points in any debate focusing upon close physician involvement in an ownership capacity regarding hospitals in New York and nationally.

On the one hand, most doctors (understandably) applaud supporters and friendly legislation that renders their involvement as facility stakeholders easier, while simultaneously deploring hurdles that have cropped up in recent years to keep them out of the business of, well, owing businesses.

And they quickly offer up a strong rationale as to why current impediments to MD ownership should be eliminated.

"The current ban on physician-owned hospitals prevents Medicare patients, in many instances, from accessing the highest quality of care in their community," says a national spokesperson for a prominent doctors' group.

There are critics of that view, of course, including, centrally, lobbyists for investor-owned and nonprofit medical facilities, who counter that MD-owned hospitals are comparatively costly and that they "cherry-pick patients needing treatments with high profit margins."

Currently the proverbial deck is stacked against the doctors' position, with the Affordable Care Act placing numerous restrictions on physician-owned facilities.

That deck seems to be in the process of reshuffling presently, though, with the Trump administration soliciting comments through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as to what the proper role should be regarding hospital ownership for doctors. The CMS is additionally seeking feedback on which, if any, current industry regulations affecting care delivery, MD burdens, costs and additional matters should be tweaked or eliminated.

We'll keep readers timely informed of any material information that emerges.

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