Trial or Dismissal: Tyler hospital awaits decision

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A Tyler hospital is part of a group of hospitals suing the Department of Health and Human Services.

Texas Spine and Joint is physician-owned, and section 6001 of the healthcare law prohibits expansion of those kind of hospitals unless they have permission from HHS.

Wednesday, in federal court, attorneys representing the HHS secretary say that provision was put in place because doctors will refer patients to those hospitals.

But, the plaintiffs, including Texas Spine and Joint, and more than 100 other hospitals, say these hospitals are providing excellent care, and should be allowed to expand.

"I think they have forgotten that physicians have owned and operated hospitals for over 100 years," said Lindsey Birdsong, the plaintiff's attorney. "In fact, most hospitals were created by physicians. They're the most logical ones to own a hospital versus corporate America in general."

Attorneys for the defense declined comment Wednesday. Both sides have two more weeks to prepare further arguments. The judge will ultimately decide if there will be a trial, or if the suit will be dismissed.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.