Specialty Hospitals: Information on Potential New Facilities

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Beginning in the 1990s, there was a substantial increase in the number of short-term acute care hospitals that primarily treat patients with specific medical conditions or who need surgical procedures. Advocates of such hospitals, commonly referred to as specialty hospitals, contend that their focused missions and dedicated resources can both improve quality and reduce health care costs. Critics contend that specialty hospitals siphon off the most profitable procedures and patient cases, typically without providing emergency care or other vital community services, and thus erode the financial health of ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. May 19, 2005.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Beginning in the 1990s, there was a substantial increase in the number of short-term acute care hospitals that primarily treat patients with specific medical conditions or who need surgical procedures. Advocates of such hospitals, commonly referred to as specialty hospitals, contend that their focused missions and dedicated resources can both improve quality and reduce health care costs. Critics contend that specialty hospitals siphon off the most profitable procedures and patient cases, typically without providing emergency care or other vital community services, and thus erode the financial health of neighboring general hospitals. Critics also contend that the ability of physicians to invest in a specialty hospital and then refer patients to that hospital creates financial incentives that may inappropriately affect physicians' clinical and referral behavior. In 2003, we issued two reports on the growth, characteristics, and performance of specialty hospitals. More than two-thirds of the 100 specialty hospitals we identified as being in existence in June 2003 had opened their doors since the beginning of 1990. The specialty hospitals in existence in fiscal year 2000, the most recent year for which we then had data, accounted for about 1 percent of Medicare spending for inpatient services. We also identified an additional 26 specialty hospitals under development in 10 states. Approximately 70 percent of the existing specialty hospitals were owned, in part or in whole, by physicians. Subsequent to our reports, Congress, through the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), established a moratorium which, in effect, temporarily halted further development of physician-owned specialty hospitals that focus on cardiac, orthopedic, or surgical procedures and mandated additional studies of specialty hospital issues. Specialty hospitals in operation as of November 18, 2003, are grandfathered under the moratorium and are allowed to expand within limits. Specialty hospitals not opened as of that date may apply to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and request a determination of their development status. Hospitals not open as of November 18, 2003, but sufficiently advanced in their development may be grandfathered. The MMA moratorium expires June 8, 2005. To help Congress consider the likely consequences of the moratorium's expiration, Congress asked us to provide updated information on the potential growth in the number of physician-owned specialty hospitals. This report responds to that request by presenting information that addresses the following questions: (1) How many applications for grandfather determinations has CMS received from specialty hospitals under development, what types of specialty hospitals applied, where were these hospitals located, and how many of the applications have been approved? (2) What information exists to indicate the likely number, location, and type of specialty hospitals not exempt from the moratorium that may be developed following its expiration?"

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 19, 2005

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Specialty Hospitals: Information on Potential New Facilities, text, May 19, 2005; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc301703/: accessed October 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.