Specialization has played a critical role throughout our nation’s healthcare history. Over time, cancer centers, children’s hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers were all created as specialized facilities to offer the most efficient and highest quality of care possible for their respective fields. Physician hospitals specializing in cardio-vascular and orthopaedic care, among several other specialties, represent the latest example of our nation’s healthcare system evolving to meet patient needs through specialization.
Physicians have always driven innovation in America’s hospitals. Many of the nation’s first hospitals were built and funded by physicians, like the Mayo Brothers. In 1751, a physician named Dr. Thomas Bond teamed up with Benjamin Franklin to build the nation’s first hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today, physicians are building on that tradition and revolutionizing patient safety and quality through physician hospitals. Physicians all across Texas are now taking the oath that they take to do everything in their power to care for patients with them to physician hospitals.
HEALTHCARE CHOICES BENEFIT PATIENTS
“One community hospital administrator told us that the specialty hospitals were akin to a wake-up call – getting them to pay more attention to hospital operations and physician relations.” – MedPAC’s March 2005 report to Congress.
The presence of an additional competing hospital in a community, such as a physician hospital, can serve as a catalyst for other hospitals in the community to upgrade their safety and quality standards and “old-fashioned” customer service. Patients are the ultimate winners when multiple hospitals compete for their care.
Physician hospitals offer safety and quality, first and foremost, to their patients by utilizing the latest technologies and cutting-edge practices. In an era when hospital infections and errors are plaguing our nation’s healthcare system, physician hospitals are responding with a strong emphasis on infection control and eliminating preventable complications and errors (so-called “never events”). A University of Iowa study of tens of thousands of Medicare patients found that complication rates (bleeding, infections, or death) are 40 percent lower for hip and knee surgeries at physician hospitals than at large community hospitals.
Numerous federal government and private surveys confirm that patients are embracing physician hospitals. Physician hospitals displayed extraordinary results in the latest Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare survey. Almost all of the physician-owned hospitals outpaced the national average in the key categories of patients who would rate their hospital experience on a scale of 9 or 10 and whether they would recommend the hospital to their friends and family. Physician hospitals also outshine other hospitals in many private hospital surveys.
ARE EMBRACING PHYSICIAN HOSPITALS
Instead of using valuable resources to defeat physician owned hospitals, a growing number of community hospital systems across the country have taken forward-thinking measures to embrace the safety, quality and innovation that physician hospitals bring and partner with physicians to develop joint venture models. Several Texas faith-based community hospital systems have joined others across the country to team up with, not against, physicians to offer safe and efficient patient-friendly hospitals.
The results have been extraordinary for many of these systems. One of these Texas joint venture hospitals was the highest rated heart hospital on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quality assessment system (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov) in 2005.
The community hospital systems that have teamed up with physicians to offer joint venture models cite several advantages that they bring. Physicians embrace efficiencies that these hospitals provide. Physicians being in control of the clinical governance, ownership of the hospital and having the ability to work with operating room personnel who are trained in one very specific area often lead to greater efficiencies. Also, the revenue that is earned in the joint venture can be re-invested in the non-profit community hospital. This share of the revenue helps drive the mission of these non-profit hospitals, many of whom provide trauma and other charity care services.