Physician-Owned Hospitals Under Scrutiny

Some doctors say banning physician-owned hospitals would have a devastating effect on personalized health care.

If some lawmakers in Washington get their way, the small doctor-owned facilities, which often specialize in care, would be banned.

There are 21 physician-owned hospitals with 20 more now under construction in the Metroplex.

"If physicians own the facility, the bureaucracy is eliminated, because the people giving the care are the ones making the decisions," said Dr. David Genecov, a partner at Forest Park Medical Center in Dallas, a physician-owned hospital.

"When it comes to physician-owned hospitals, you don’t have the management system that is layered, therefore the efficiency is better and you can keep costs down," he said.

But critics of physician-owned hospitals said they lead to conflicts of interest in which doctors can refer patients to themselves.  Opponents also say physician-owned hospitals lack the checks and balances found at larger, corporate-owned hospitals.

Patients of physician-owned hospitals such as Julie McNally are quick to tout the benefits of the intimate, personalized care often found at the hospitals.

"It makes all the difference in the world," said McNally, whose 4-year-old son suffers from a rare genetic disorder and needed facial reconstruction surgery.

"I tell him we are going to the doctor tomorrow and he says, 'Woo hoo,' he’s so excited," McNally said.

Genecov said he's that hopeful lawmakers will leave physician-owned hospitals alone.

“We are local people taking care of local people,” he said. “Why would anyone want to do away with that?”

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