Hospital Chain Inquiry Cited Unnecessary Cardiac Work

On August 6, 2012, the New York Times published an article detailing the unnecessary and possibly dangerous cardiac work being performed at HCA hospitals in Florida by physicians who may be seeking to increase profitability for the healthcare network by carrying out expensive heart procedures.  Since the early 2000s, numerous investigations have found evidence indicating that cardiac procedures, such as stents and cardiac catheterizations, were done at HCA hospitals on many patients who did not need these procedures.

Heart procedures can yield high profits for a healthcare company. For example, one particular heart procedure, catheterization, was found to account for 35 percent of net profits at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, an HCA hospital in Florida. These profits often come from the government through programs such as Medicare, which reimburses hospitals for certain cardiac procedures.

Both private and government investigations into HCA, a hospital chain with 163 facilities in the United States, show that some cardiologists working at the company’s facilities have performed unjustifiable heart procedures on patients that often did not need this type of care. Oftentimes, medical records indicate that physicians intentionally misrepresented information to make it appear as though certain heart procedures were necessary.

See the New York Times article at:

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