ObamaCare has made it harder than it was before for physicians to own hospitals participating in federal healthcare programs.
One option of course, open for as long as there is still private health insurance coverage, is for physicians interested in hospital ownership to own facilities that exclude federally funded patients.
The other, and perhaps superior option is to consider that controlling a hospital may be better than owing it. Hospitals, even money losing ones, are expensive to own and operate. If physicians are blocked from investing in hospitals accepting, for example, Medicare patients, why not focus on non-profits and on district hospitals by gaining control of their boards of directors.
Sure, you wouldn’t be able to declare a dividend, but the fact is that as hospitals begin to play a larger and larger role on both sides of the healthcare market (facility and provider), for example via Accountable Care Organizations, why not seek to control the controller?
An uphill fight, for sure. But one that just might be worth it.
Mark F. Weiss
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