Physician-owned hospitals were destroyed by the press for cherry picking healthier patients while supposedly leaving…
Do Physician Owned Hospitals Cherry Pick?
The answer is no. A study in a recent BMJ compared physician owned hospitals (POHs) with non-POHs on metrics around patient populations, quality of care, costs, and payments. Here are the results:
- The 219 POHs were more often small (<100 beds), for profit, and in urban areas.
- 120 of these POHs were general (non-specialty) hospitals.
- Compared with patients from non-POHs, those from POHs were younger (77.4 v 78.4 years, P<0.001), less likely to be admitted through an emergency department (23.2% v. 29.0%, P<0.001), equally likely to be black (5.1% v 5.5%, P=0.85) or to use Medicaid (14.9% v 15.4%, P=0.75), and had similar numbers of chronic diseases and predicted mortality scores.
- POHs and non-POHs performed similarly on patient experience scores, processes of care, risk adjusted 30 day mortality, 30 day readmission rates, costs, and payments for acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and pneumonia.
The study concluded that “although POHs may treat slightly healthier patients, they do not seem to systematically select more profitable or less disadvantaged patients or to provide lower value care”.
Well, that’s a problem. If you don’t give the non-physician owned hospitals the “cherry picking” card then what excuse will they use to shut them down in the future? Trust me when I say there will be a lot of donuts being eaten and a lot of coffee being gulped down as these administrators try to come up with a plan. There is no way they can let these POH compete with them. Stay tuned.