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Robert Trigaux

Deja vu? HCA hospitals in Florida again target of federal probe into questionable medical practices




HCA, which runs 163 for-profit hospitals and provide 5 percent of all in-patient care in the United States, saw its stock drop modestly Monday after news reports about the U.S. Justice Department investigating the hospital chain for performing medically unnecessary heart surgeries. Is this the start of a big HCA problem or a brief stumble?

Wake up and good morning. HCA's never too far from news of questionable practices. This time, the New York Times reports some Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA -- including 10 hospitals mostly in Florida with HCA's Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Pasco County among them -- serve cardiologists who are unable to justify many of the heart procedures they are performing.

rickscott.jpgUh oh. Read more from Bloomberg, Reuters  and the Wall Street Journal here. And yes, this is the same hospital company that in 2000 and 2002 pleaded guilty to 14 felonies for fraudulently billing the federal government by overstating the seriousness of patient diagnoses. And yes, current Florida Gov. Rick Scott (photo, left) was CEO of HCA back then, which became a controversy during this run for governor. Scott claims he knew nothing about the fraud and left HCA, enriched with a compensation package he would use in part to fund his political campaign.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times


[Last modified: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 8:17am]


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