N.C. Hospital Association statement
Hospitals oppose HB 177.
HB 177 is the wrong public policy. Carving out profitable services for private physicians is contrary to having all providers work together to lower cost by managing the health of populations. Duplicating existing services and fueling physician self-referral never cut costs.
Its the wrong time for HB 177. The bill must be considered in current reimbursement environment. NC hospitals are facing more than $7.8 billion in federal payment reductions over the next decade. The States decision not to expand Medicaid or provide other health insurance for the poor will undermine everyones access to care. Federal funds intended to offset a portion of the federal reimbursement cuts will not be available to hospitals. Hospitals will be forced to consider operational costs reductions, service line eliminations and layoffs.
HB 177 would essentially de-regulate the outpatient surgeries hospitals rely on to offset losses from other hospital operations the inadequately reimbursed mission services such as emergency departments that hospitals provide because our communities need them.
HB 177 would not save the state money through Medicaid dollars or the State Employees Health Plan because the bill does not guarantee these doctors will care for those patients. Developing a plan to serve these patients means nothing if its not implemented and enforced.
HB 177 would not promote competition. There is no competition for the mission services hospitals provide, uninsured patients and Medicaid recipients. Doctor-owned surgery centers wont provide these services and wont care for these patients. The only part of the marketplace thats free is the $1.6 billion hospitals gave away in charity care and bad debt in 2011.
This bill is obviously not about creating a more competitive, outpatient surgery marketplace. The bill is intended to allow a few doctors to create their own cherry-picking surgery centers to the exclusion of not only hospitals but also other doctors who later might want to own single-specialty operating rooms.
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