HCA, the nation’s largest hospital chain, has been cited by an internal inquiry for performing unnecessary cardiac procedures that drove up profits.
According to a NY Times investigation, “HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the United States with 163 facilities, had uncovered evidence as far back as 2002 and as recently as late 2010 showing that some cardiologists at several of its hospitals in Florida were unable to justify many of the procedures they were performing. Those hospitals included the Cedars Medical Center in Miami, which the company no longer owns, and the Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. In some cases, the doctors made misleading statements in medical records that made it appear the procedures were necessary, according to internal reports.”
The details of such unnecessary medical procedures have been found in internal company emails and correspondence that reflect a concern for the hospital chain’s financial profit margin rather than benefit or harm to the patient.
“Details about the procedures and the company’s knowledge of them are contained in thousands of pages of confidential memos, e-mail correspondence among executives, transcripts from hearings and reports from outside consultants examined by The Times, as well as interviews with doctors and others. A review of those communications reveals that rather than asking whether patients had been harmed or whether regulators needed to be contacted, hospital officials asked for information on how the physicians’ activities affected the hospitals’ bottom line.”
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