Physician-owned hospitals (“POHs”) offer an alternative to traditional hospitals and provide certain direct and indirect advantages to patients that aren’t available in traditional hospitals.

A POH offers efficient, top-notch patient care at a lower cost, emphasizing the quality of care over quantity of patients. Physicians maintain a vested interest in their patients’ care and are empowered to directly make medical decisions based on the best interest of their patients. Compassionate, efficient, quality patient-centered care builds the foundation of POHs.

Here are six specific ways in which POHs deliver top-notch, exceptional care to patients:

Choice

With the acquisition of Mountain View Regional Hospital by Wyoming Medical Center, the patients’ choice of care is now limited to two options: Summit Medical Center and Wyoming Medical Center. As noted by Dr. Smith and Dr. Vigneri, this means that except for Summit Medical Center, Wyoming Medical Center has a monopoly on medical costs and choices for health care in the Casper community.

“Summit offers a choice that includes efficiency and lower costs,” Dr. Vigneri added.

Patient-centric

Having physicians as owners of a hospital creates a patient-centric environment, regarding quality and continuity of care. As owners, the physicians have a stake in each patient. Physicians can determine each patient’s plan of care directly, without middle management or going through the hospital administrative process. Physicians work directly with their patients in making medical care decisions.

“Administrative decisions on patient care have to be approved by the physician board of managers, not middle managers,” said Dr. Joseph M. Vigneri, Medical Director at Summit Medical Center.

Quality over quantity

Physician autonomy at physician-owned hospitals allows physicians to make decisions ranging from purchasing state-of-the-art equipment and cutting-edge technology to determining the number of patients they can safely manage. Physicians retain the independence to streamline the process allowing them to focus on their primary mission: providing outstanding medical care to the patients, emphasizing quality over quantity.

High patient satisfaction

Physician-owned hospitals are renowned for high patient satisfaction rates and quality patient care. As noted by Dr. Vigneri, physicians at a POH control all aspects of care with a direct line from physician to patient, leading to positive patient outcomes, low readmission rates and low infection rates.

“POHs are consistently identified as providing high patient satisfaction and quality patient care,” said Dr. Craig Smith, Chairman of the Board at Summit Medical Center. “For example, 38 of 57 hospitals identified by Becker’s Hospital Review as the Best Overall Patient-Rated Hospitals are physician-owned.”

In addition, a December 2012 Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services report reviewed clinical data used to reward hospitals for providing quality of care and found that nine of the top 10 hospitals were physician-owned, as were 48 of the top 100.

Controlled costs

Physician-owned hospitals can provide medical care at a lower cost than traditional hospitals. With physicians having control over procedure and supply costs, physician-owned hospitals take an efficient, cost-effective approach to medical services provided in their facility.

“Because of the small size and control by physicians, we can control operating room and supply costs and offer lower prices,” said Dr. Vigneri.

“Lower costs at a POH can also be attributed to its ability to negotiate directly with insurance companies, device and kit providers, eliminating the administrative markup included by traditional hospitals in their pricing,” said Calvin Carey, CEO at Summit Medical Center. A POH also has lower overhead and fewer ancillary services to fund than a traditional hospital. Finally, a POH eliminates duplication of costs because there is not a separate administrative cost: the physicians are the administration.

“Summit can provide a hip replacement at a lower cost to the insurance company such as BCBS than the other local hospitals,” said Dr. Smith.

Positive economic impact on local communities

Physician-owned hospitals contribute to the local economy not only through employment, but also through payment of income, property, sales and inventory taxes, contrary to traditional hospitals. Non-profit hospitals are exempt from paying property and income taxes, eliminating that source of funding into the system.

“We pay local and state taxes, including property taxes. Traditional not-for-profits pay none of these. We have approximately 60 employees, so we support families in our community, and we’re very involved in supporting community events like Boys and Girls Club, Breast Cancer Walk and many others,” said Dr. Vigneri.

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