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In Texas, Favorable Regulations for Physicians May Backfire in Light of Market Downturn
Date:3/23/2009

Lower-Than-Expected Patient Volumes Seen in Houston Physician-Owned Hospitals, According to New Reports from HealthLeaders-InterStudy

NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that while Texas laws favoring physicians have traditionally enabled doctors practicing in the state to compete directly with health systems, these regulations may actually yield increasing challenges for this sector. According to the recent Houston Market Overview and San Antonio Market Overview, positives for the physician sector are tempered by economic conditions and a challenging contracting environment.

Texas has no certificate-of-need requirements for healthcare facilities and state law bars hospitals from employing physicians in most cases--two factors that have allowed doctors to build their own hospitals and facilities. There are more physician-owned hospitals in Texas than in any other state.

Meanwhile, the current economic environment finds many patients delaying care, a situation that will intensify as more consumers adopt health plans with higher copays and deductibles.

In the Houston market, home to more than a dozen acute-care facilities with physician investors, the area's physician-owned hospitals have an additional challenge: difficulty securing managed care contracts. Physician-owned University General Hospital and Foundation Surgical Hospital have contracts with one major insurer each--Aetna and UnitedHealth, respectively. Each hospital has seen lower-than-expected patient volumes.

"The Houston market has seen many hospitals open in recent years. For physician-owned facilities, today's environment, with reduced patient volumes and limited managed care contracts, makes it difficult for them to become profitable," said Mark Cherry, market analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "In areas like Houston and San Antonio we'll likely see physicians begin to work more closely with health systems, and consolidation among the overall health system segment as these players look to become more efficient."

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Market Overviews provide a detailed analysis of local healthcare market drivers in 87 of the nation's most dynamic metro areas, allowing pharmaceutical executives to quickly gain local area expertise. Each report provides local-level insights into: health systems and hospitals, physicians, health plans, Medicare/Medicaid, pharmaceutical environment, legislation and employers.

About HealthLeaders-InterStudy

HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a Decision Resources, Inc. company, is the authoritative source for managed care data, analysis and news. For more information, please visit www.HL-ISY.com.

About Decision Resources, Inc.

Decision Resources, Inc. is a cohesive portfolio of companies that offers best-in-class, high-value information and insights on important sectors of the healthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informed decisions. Please visit Decision Resources, Inc. at www.DecisionResourcesInc.com.

All company, brand or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

    For more information, contact:

    Lisa Osgood                      Elizabeth Marshall
    HealthLeaders-InterStudy         Decision Resources, Inc.
    781-296-2606                     781-296-2563
    losgood@hl-isy.com               emarshall@dresources.com


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SOURCE HealthLeaders-InterStudy
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