PHA Supports OIG Recommendations on Emergency Care Policy

Friday, January 11, 2008 General News J E 4
WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 Following today's release of the HHSInspector General's (IG) study of emergency care and staffing policies in109 physician owned specialty hospitals, Physician Hospitals of America (PHA)endorsed the IG's recommendations and called on CMS and Congress to conductthe same review of similar size tax-exempt community hospitals. PHA is thenational association representing hospitals that are governed and owned byphysicians.

PHA Executive Director Molly Sandvig said, "According to the IG, 93% ofthe hospitals reviewed complied with Medicare's staffing requirements.However, PHA strongly believes that all hospitals must meet Medicare'sconditions of participation. Any hospital, regardless of ownership, that isnot meeting its obligations under Medicare's rules needs to get its acttogether or suffer the consequences. CMS should examine the actions of theeight hospitals cited by the IG and take all appropriate steps."

She added that, "PHA has already endorsed CMS efforts to improve thequality of responses to emergency situations in all hospitals. Therecommendations that the IG made to CMS are appropriate and should apply toevery hospital treating Medicare patients."

Independent studies have confirmed the high quality of care provided inphysician owned hospitals. Ms. Sandvig said, "We are proud of the highquality of medical care that our members provide. Numerous government andprivate studies support the high quality of care offered to patients by thephysician hospital industry."

Sandvig went on to say that, "No hospital should use 911 as a substitutefor providing proper care to patients. Medicare allows all hospitals to use911 for transfers once the patient is stabilized, but every hospital must beable to provide medically necessary responses to emergency situations."

Sandvig further stated that the study is limited because it does notaddress the most significant issues: Was there any impact on the quality ofpatient care as a consequence of the IG's findings? And how do these findingscompare to the practices of comparable general hospitals?

PHA president Douglas Johnson said, "This study is a snapshot of one smallpart of the hospital delivery system in this country. PHA calls on the IG toexpand its review to include all types of hospitals. Congress should not actuntil it has a more complete picture of the policies and practices of a widevariety of hospitals."

SOURCE Physician Hospitals of America


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