Statement from the NC Hospital Association

N.C. Hospital Association statementMarch 11, 2013 

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.

It’s 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 State’s decision not to expand Medicaid or provide other health insurance for the poor will undermine everyone’s 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 it’s 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 won’t provide these services and won’t care for these patients. The only part of the marketplace that’s 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.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service