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New Poll From Lake Research Shows Americans Support Allowing Physicians to Own and Operate Hospitals

WASHINGTON, March 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American public believes doctors and physicians would do a good job running hospitals in their community and they want doctors to make decisions about patient care and how hospitals are run. They believe doctors should be allowed to own hospitals where they work and that Congress ought to vote to allow this practice to continue.

A recent Lake Research Partners' national survey(1) shows that doctors and physicians have a high level of credibility with the American public. Physicians and doctors are the top group Americans have confidence in when it comes to running hospitals in their community. Two-thirds (67%) of the American public believes doctors and physicians would do an excellent or good job (18% excellent) running a hospital in their community, while just one in four (23%) think they would do a just fair or poor job.(2) Comparatively, only 29% of the public think a health insurance company would do an excellent or good job, and only 34% think a tax-exempt corporation would do an excellent or good job.

Americans also believe that physicians and surgeons ought to be making decisions about how patients receive care in hospitals, and about how hospitals are being run.(3) Physicians and surgeons are the choice of 39%, followed by hospital administrators (28%), nurses (15%), and community health officials (10%).

In an engaged debate,(4) Americans support physician owned hospitals by a 12-point margin. 50% of adults think doctors should be allowed to own and operate the hospitals in which they work, while 38% feel they should be prevented from doing so. Support for physician owned hospitals extends across demographic groups including men (+20 net allow), women (+6), Republicans (+28), Democrats (+14), younger Americans (+15), and older (+13) Americans, as well as across all geographical regions.

Americans not only personally feel physicians should be allowed to own and operate hospitals in which they work, by the same margins they also want their member of Congress to vote to allow this.(5) Fifty percent of Americans say that they want their member of Congress to vote to allow physicians to own and operate hospitals, while 40% want them to vote to prohibit physician owned hospitals. Again, the same demographic patterns emerge. The idea is supported by men (+16 net vote to allow), women (+6), Republicans (+22), Democrats (+10), younger people (+12), older people (+12), and Americans across all geographical regions.

(1) Methodology: Lake Research Partners designed this telephone survey

which was conducted by phone using professional interviewers. The

Media Guys, Inc. commissioned this survey on behalf of Physician

Hospitals of America (PHA). The survey reached a total of

1,000 adults nationwide. Interviewing was conducted March 5-6, 2008.

The data has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

(2) Question wording: Here is a list of some possible groups that may own

and operate a hospital near you. For each one, please tell me whether

you think that group would do an excellent, good, just fair, or poor

job running a hospital in your community.

(3) Question wording: Now I'm going to read you a list of people who may

make decisions about how patients receive care in hospitals in your

community and how they are being run. Please tell me the ONE person

you would want in charge of hospitals in your area?

(4) Question Wording: Prevent: Some people say that physicians should NOT

be allowed to own and operate hospitals in which they work. They say

that if doctors were allowed to send patients to hospitals they own,

they would be tempted to prescribe the most expensive procedures, even

if the patient did not need it. This means doctors might only care

for patients who can make them the most profit. This could drive up

the costs for all of us.

Allowed to Own: Other people say physicians SHOULD be able to own and

operate the hospitals where they work because in those hospitals they

can provide better care for their patients. For too long, decisions

about patient care have been made by administrators and insurance

companies, even though doctors actually provide the care. If doctors

own hospitals they can make the decisions based on what their patients


(5) Question wording: Thinking about the proposal in Congress to prohibit

physicians from owning and operating the hospitals in which they work,

how would you want your member of Congress to vote on this proposal?

Would you want your member of congress to vote to prohibit physicians

from owning and operating hospitals or vote to allow physicians to own

and operate hospitals?

SOURCE Lake Research Partners
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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