Physician-Hospital Organization (PHO)

Published: | Updated: March 31, 2018

Definition - What does Physician-Hospital Organization (PHO) mean?

A physician-hospital organization (PHO) is an informal or legal organization that connects hospitals and their medical staff.

While they vary in structure, they are usually entities formed to allow physicians to jointly own a hospital. PHOs are either open to any staff members of the hospital or it may be closed to those who fail to qualify or are part of an over-represented specialty.

Insuranceopedia explains Physician-Hospital Organization (PHO)

The first PHOs were established in the early 1990s by hospitals that wished to establish a strong partnership with their physicians in order to offer full-service managed care.

Physicians who are specialists are normally not offered ownership as part of the PHO. While hospitals that run under a PHO model do work with and offer care by surgeons, cardiologists, radiologists, and other specialists, these professionals are typically contracted to provide treatment to patients.

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