Good for patients and hospitals

The Medicare Act of 2003 required a study to be performed related to physician owned hospitals by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In March 2005, HHS reported several significant findings as a result of their study. Consider the following:

  • Physician owned hospitals provide a high level of quality of care.HHS reported that structural measures of quality, such as staff specialization, clinical staff per patient, and complication rates, all suggested good performance on the part of physician owned hospitals and demonstrated very high quality of care. "Study of Physician-Owned Specialty Hospitals Required in Section 507(c)(2) of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003," (HHS Study) by Michael O. Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, 2005, p. 53.

  • The HHS Study also found that patients value greatly the additional amenities provided by physician owned hospitals, such as a quiet environment, private rooms, family accommodations, accessibility and attentiveness of nursing staff, specialized training of nursing staff, and specialized treatment and procedures offered by specialty hospitals because they contribute to their recovery. HHS Study, pgs. 48-53.

  • Mortality rates are significantly better for physician owned hospitals than for competitor hospitals-- for all medical procedures analyzed by HHS there was a measurable statistical significance. HHS Study, pg. 42 (in reaching these conclusions, HHS adjusted for acuity).

  • Complication rates at physician owned hospitals are also measurably lower than at general hospitals. According to the HHS study, patients are 3-5 times more likely to contract complications at general hospitals than specialty hospitals. HHS Study, pg. 44-45 (Again, the results of the HHS Study were adjusted for acuity.)

  • Nurse to patient ratios are significantly better at physician owned hospitals than general hospitals.At physician owned hospitals, nurse to patient ratios average 4 to 1; however, nurse to patient ratios at general hospitals are typically 8 to 1 or higher.

Now that you're aware of these federal study findings, if you were afforded a choice, where would you prefer to be treated?