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.


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected]

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1 Response

  1. Private Doc says:

    They already have shut them down. They have made them illegal and only the ones that existed are grandfathered in. I think even the ones grandfathered in are never allowed to increase the physicians share only decrease but I’m not sure on that part.

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