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Physician Hospitals of America Denounces 'Farm Bill' Plan to Sell Out Seniors and Physicians to Pay for Agribusiness Subsidies

WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Physician Hospitals of America (PHA) today strongly denounced efforts by opponents of physician owned hospitals to sneak provisions into the farm bill in their continuing effort to close all hospitals that have physician owners.

This is the latest effort by opponents of hospitals that are controlled and owned by physicians instead of bureaucrats and non-physician corporations and has already drawn strong criticism from groups such as the American Medical Association. (Source: American Medical Association, Advocacy Update, April 14, 2008)

"Our opponents are trying to sell-out America's seniors and the physicians who've sworn an oath to provide them the best care humanly possible," said PHA Executive Director, Molly Sandvig, "all for the benefit of big agribusiness and the big health care monopolies they represent."

Sandvig added that physicians have taken the lead on health care and hospital reform because their patients are not being well served by a system "designed by politicians and controlled by bureaucrats."

Senators working on the farm bill who are also opposed to physician owned hospitals want to use "savings" identified by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to offset the costs of new farm programs.

PHA Executive Director Molly Sandvig said, "We dispute the CBO conclusions. These so-called savings are being used as an excuse to attack physicians. But even if the CBO estimate was accurate, using federal money dedicated to providing healthcare services for Medicare beneficiaries to support farm programs is outrageous. Americans work hard to pay into Medicare to support their hospital services. Those tax dollars should not wind up in the farm program."

PHA also urged members of Congress to be wary of information being distributed by the various industry groups for whom the effort to close hospitals owned by physicians has been undertaken.

Recently, for instance, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) sent a letter to the American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals and the Coalition of Full Service Community Hospitals criticizing the way those organizations had characterized a recent OIG report on physician owned hospitals in talking points that were distributed to Members of Congress.

"This rebuke by the OIG is further evidence that those who oppose physician ownership are not providing accurate information to Congress," noted PHA President, Doug Johnson. "Congress should be suspicious of any communications on this issue that comes from these organizations. The truth is that patients, physicians and staff prefer the physician owned model over the traditional 'big box' impersonal system that is so prevalent today. We ask Congress to recognize this and allow physicians to continue to develop high quality, cost effective facilities that give patients a real choice where they receive their care."

PHA urges Congress to reject this attempt to bypass the regular legislative process and stop the effort to add anti-physician hospital provisions to the farm bill.

SOURCE Physician Hospitals of America
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