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Gov. Rick Scott's Old Health Care Firm Faces Federal Probe For Unnecessary Heart Surgeries

Categories: Politicks
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Next for Rick Scott: Organ harvesting
What's the most despicable way you can imagine a hospital chain trying to make extra cash? Short of kidnapping people to harvest their organs, it might be performing loads of unnecessary heart surgeries, putting patients at serious risk of death. That's exactly what HCA, the hospital chain founded by Gov. Rick Scott, has done repeatedly, the New York Times reports this morning.

Federal investigators asked for records from the company last month after an internal probe found widespread problems with bogus surgeries at HCA hospitals, including at least two facilities in Miami.

Scott has sold most of his shares in HCA -- which he founded in 1989 -- since becoming governor, but he was the CEO of the firm when it overbilled Medicare by more than a billion dollars, later incurring a $1.7 billion penalty from the feds for the fraud.

The company's new scandal started with a letter from a nurse, the Times writes. She complained to the company's ethics board that doctors at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce had been performing unneeded heart surgeries.

The ethics officer, Stephen Johnson, looked into it and found her complaint "substantiated." Internal documents show that that complaint wasn't isolated; at hospitals around Florida, HCA had evidence as far back as 2002 that doctors were "unable to justify many of the procedures they were performing," the Times reports.

Physicians went so far as to to alter medical records to cover up the bad surgeries -- and some patients paid the price.

At one hospital, for instance, a 44-year-old patient complaining of chest pains was nearly killed by an unnecessary heart procedure; another woman with no heart disease went into cardiac arrest after a doctor placed an unneeded stent into her heart.

Why would they do unnecessary surgery? Because heart procedures are "big business," the Times says; for every stent, for instance, Medicare pays out $10,000 to the chain.

The feds are looking into the problem. HCA officials admitted yesterday that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami had requested documents in July related to reviews of the necessity of medical procedures at 10 hospitals.

HCA -- which operates Kendall Regional Medical Center and dozens of other hospitals around Florida -- has uploaded a four-page letter to its website today defending its heart surgery record. You can read the whole thing here.

Also worth mentioning: Scott's administration was among the first in the country to challenge Obama's health care reforms. And he's already been selected as a speaker at this month's Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Hey GOP: Maybe it's time to stop looking to Rick Scott as a political leader on health care issues, eh?

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7 comments
phillybluz
phillybluz

fyi, scott sold his shares alright...to guess who....his wife !!!

look it up !

phillybluz
phillybluz

fyi, scott sold his shares alright...to guess who....his wife !!!

look it up !

 

violawoman09
violawoman09

Oops, so Skeletor's old company got caught; I'm already suffering from his policies. I got full disability INSTANTLY, but am not 65. I cannot get the preventive care I need and am slowly losing neurological function because I can't get the treatment until I fulfill the 2 year waiting period. I am deemed medically needy and must meet at least 960.00 per month in medical bills to get dime one covered. that would leave me 200.00 a month to live on. My only choice is to make up a bunch of nonsense and go to the hospital at the 1st of each and every month for needless test, rather than just get the routine care that might slow any neurological deterioration. This saves Florida money how? Scott is a jack-wagon of the highest order and this helps exactly no one. It is not fiscally responsible; it is fiscally wasteful. He's a horrible human being

Lance W Gurel
Lance W Gurel

Surely the Republican Party is distancing itself from Scott...what? no? you say he will be a main speaker at the Republican Convention? Really?

Lance W Gurel
Lance W Gurel

What is the matter with you people in Florida? How did this guy get elected? Do I have friends in Florida who don't bother to vote because they don't think it matters? It does.

Lance W Gurel
Lance W Gurel

Scott has sold most of his shares in HCA -- which he founded in 1989 -- since becoming governor, but HE WAS THE CEO OF THE FIRM WHEN IT OVERBILLED MEDICARE BY MORE THAN A BILLION DOLLARS.

Jose Antonio Navarro
Jose Antonio Navarro

I don't know how people voted Rick Scott into office simply from that psychotic glaze plastered on his face ... he looks like he binges on meth amphetamine for weeks at a time.

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