Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hospital Corporation of America, or HCA, or DOA

So, the NY Times has run some pieces about HCA lately.  They're kind of hit pieces, and some of the Republican blogs and papers have been jumping on it.  HCA is also known as Hospital Corporation of America.  This wouldn't be an issue if Bain Capital didn't own 40% of them.  You know, that company that Mitt Romney founded?  If Rick Scott hadn't been the CEO at one point it would also be slightly less interesting.

So, anyway, the NY Times ran this piece.  Some highlights:

HCA’s emergence as a powerful leader in the hospital industry is all the more remarkable because only a decade ago the company was badly shaken by a wide-ranging Medicare fraud investigation that it eventually settled for more than $1.7 billion. 

Why fix Medicare if you can bill for it right now?

In late 2008, for instance, HCA changed the billing codes it assigned to sick and injured patients who came into the emergency rooms. Almost overnight, the numbers of patients who HCA said needed more care, which would be paid for at significantly higher levels by Medicare, surged. 

Again, why screw up what works?  Maybe vouchers might be a way to pay for this while saving HCA some money, but the current formula seems like something not worth screwing up.

HCA decided not to treat patients who came in with nonurgent conditions, like a cold or the flu or even a sprained wrist, unless those patients paid in advance.

This falls in line with what we know about Romney.  Obviously it's a great cost cutting move.  He's a business genius or something for his dealings with Marriott.  After that, why would anyone doubt the man?

I mean, at least HCA didn't perform unnecessary surgery on...  Oh, crap.  They really did?  Well...

Why is it corporations can't end up in jail for committing crimes like unneeded surgeries for Medicare dollars?  I thought they were people?  If Bain owns you, you get out of jail free, even if you're kind of getting into the creepy area of cutting people up to make a few extra cents per share.

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