Last week the US House passed its version of the "State Children's Health Insurance Program' or "SCHIP." The bill would expand the program to offer insurance coverage to 11 million needy children, but not everyone is happy about all the legislation included in the bill. Lubbock Heart Hospital CEO John CcGreevy says extending insurance coverage to more children is of course, a good thing, but lobbyists for community hospitals have convinced the authors of the bill to include language that is detrimental to physician-owned hospitals. McGreevy says, "They're putting this language in the bill to restrict growth of physician-owned hospitals, to restrict competition." He says if changes aren't made before the SCHIP Bill hits Obama's desk for approval, it could mean the end of hospitals like LHH. "'What it means, is the way you see Lubbock Heart Hospital right now is the way it will stay forever. Basically, we're in a capsule. We will not be able to grow as the Lubbock community and West Texas continues to grow. It would just shut down the industry."
Now the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on it's own version of SCHIP sometime this week and that version does not include any negative language toward physician-owned hospitals. Of course, McGreevy is hoping that version ends up on President Obama's desk. If you want to get involved and help make that happen, you can contact your U.S. TX Senators by visiting www.physicianhospitals.org.