« prev   random   next »


Hospital chain allegedly admitted patients fraudulently to make more $$$

By curious2 follow curious2   2012 Dec 2, 11:28am 35,284 views   46 comments   watch   nsfw   quote   share    


For more than a year, we have been looking into the admission and billing practices of Health Management Associates. It's the fourth largest for-profit hospital chain in the country with revenues of $5.8 billion last year, nearly half of that coming from Medicare and Medicaid programs. We talked to more than 100 current and former employees and we heard a similar story over and over: that HMA relentlessly pressured its doctors to admit more and more patients -- regardless of medical need -- in order to increase revenues.

Health Management Associates owns 70 hospitals in 15 states. It's thrived buying small, struggling hospitals in non-urban areas, turning them into profit centers by filling empty beds. Generally speaking, the more patients a hospital admits, the more money it can make, a business strategy that HMA has aggressively pursued.

« First    « Previous    Comments 7 - 46 of 46    Last »

8   curious2   ignore (0)   2012 Dec 2, 3:41pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

And, no thread on "60 Minutes" medical reporting would be complete without this report showing whole categories of drugs (SSRIs) and surgeries (knee) to be no better than placebo:


This is part of why I conclude that most American medical spending consists of waste, fraud, and abuse.

9   curious2   ignore (0)   2012 Dec 3, 5:38am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Lest anyone accuse me of picking on hospital corporations (two of America's four largest cited above), while ignoring one of the other elephants in the room, I'll add a bit about PhRMA. Consider as a starting example Vytorin, widely advertised on TV; in clinical studies, "Vytorin failed to show much effect."

As is typical for drug trials that show failure, publication was delayed for years compared to trials that show "success", leaving the drugs on the market to make money, inflict side effects, and confer no benefit:

Newsweek: "Why Almost Everything You Hear About Medicine Is Wrong"

The literature imbalance can also result from the use of "rescue countries," i.e. if trials in America show a drug doesn't work, PhRMA can throw cash at doctors in dirt-poor "rescue countries" to produce "studies" showing "success":

Vanity Fair: "Deadly Medicine"

While much or most of current American medical spending consists of waste, fraud, and abuse, ObamaCare is projected to increase spending even further. It all adds up to what I hope might become a page in @Patrick's next book, The Medical Trap.

10   elliemae   ignore (0)   2012 Dec 3, 10:54pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

It is possible that spending will decrease, considering that grants to corporations for providing care to non-funded patients will eventually become unnecessary. Corporations won't be able to write off the free care on their taxes...

...of course, they'll find other ways to scam us all. I love this country!

11   curious2   ignore (0)   2012 Dec 5, 2:50pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

elliemae says

providing care to non-funded patients will eventually become unnecessary

LOL - In California, Obamacare is "threatening the financial stability of the state's safety net" because federal subsidies for illegal aliens will be diverted from public hospitals to insurance companies. Of course, the aliens are exempt from the mandatory insurance (they aren't even eligible if they want to pay for the insurance), and EMTALA will continue in effect so any remaining emergency departments will continue to be required to serve non-funded patients. So, existing emergency departments are closing and corporations are building new hospitals with no emergency departments at all. Letting injured emergency patients bleed to death may save $, but the savings will be more than offset by increased payments for toxic pills advertised on TV; federal projections show that ObamaCare will increase spending even above prior law, just as the lobbyists intended.

12   curious2   ignore (0)   2013 Apr 16, 1:25pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

Two of today's headlines reminded me of the earlier reports in this thread.

The first is a report published in JAMA:

"When a privately insured patient experiences one or more complications -- such as blood clots, stroke, infection, septic shock, pneumonia or cardiac arrest -- hospitals' profit margins are 330% higher compared to a patient with no complications, the report found. For Medicare patients with complications, hospitals' profit margins are 190% higher, according to the report, which was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association."

The second is a federal investigation:

"At least two doctors at a Chicago hospital endangered patients by intentionally over-sedating them and performing unnecessary tracheotomies in a bid to boost profits, a graphic and wide-ranging complaint released by federal prosecutors Tuesday alleges.

The document doesn't directly say patients at Sacred Heart Hospital died as a result of the procedures that involve cutting a hole into someone's windpipe, but it notes mortality rates from one of the doctor's tracheotomies were far higher than average.

The investigation of the hospital dating back to 2011 led to arrests on Tuesday of the hospital's owner, Edward Novak, 58, of Park Ridge, as well as another executive and four doctors in an alleged conspiracy to exchange kickbacks for referral of patients insured by Medicare and Medicaid. The arrested doctors allegedly received kickbacks from the hospital totaling more than $225,000, the 90-page complaint said."

Guess who's looking forward to Obamacare, with "no lifetime caps!"

13   APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch   ignore (43)   2013 Apr 16, 1:30pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Get paid to decapitate patients and spend millions tacking the heads back on!

14   curious2   ignore (0)   2013 Apr 16, 1:48pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

In addition, "A California hospital chain has boosted its profits by transferring an unusually high number of patients from its emergency rooms to its hospital beds, gaining hundreds of millions of dollars by targeting people with Medicare, a California Watch investigation has found." (You can read more about that particular hospital chain, one of America's largest, from California Watch.)

Hospital corporations aren't alone in looking forward to Obamacare though: "California health insurers are proposing double-digit rate increases for hundreds of thousands of policyholders, drawing criticism that health insurers are padding their profits as the nation prepares to carry out the federal health care law."

BTW, @Bob2356, I'm sorry for putting you on Ignore, I was busy with tax forms and didn't have time for your distractions. I imagine you'll want to chime in on this thread with your usual refuted claims about all of this being "defensive medicine" and the solution being "tort reform" (i.e. making sure these hospitals and doctors shouldn't have to pay back any of the $$$ they overcharge for all these unnecessary injuries and/or deaths). Also, I updated my reply to your comment on a different thread, just wanted to let you know in case you wanted to respond. I do want to clarify though, by apologizing for ignoring you and giving you a chance to respond if you choose, I'm only trying to be fair. I don't share your T. Gondii-induced impulses to drive sideways at 80mph and surf with sharks and troll for fights all over the World Wide Web, but I do believe in giving people an opportunity to speak for themselves, or "enough rope" in other words, rather than ignoring them or whispering things about them behind their backs. Choosing ignorance says more about the person who chooses it than whatever they choose to ignore, so I'm sorry for briefly ignoring you. I can't promise to respond to all your comments though; if you wonder why, check my recent comment where I went out of my way to be nice and found an official link correcting your error about Medicare as gently as possible, and the thanks I got was only more sarcasm and rhetorical questions, no appreciation and not even an admission that you were obviously clearly wrong.

15   elliemae   ignore (0)   2013 Apr 16, 4:17pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I see fraud all the time. Drives me fucking batshit crazy.

Home health companies who give kickbacks in order to get referrals for patients who don't need (or qualify for) the care.

Hospice patients who are signed onto service because they're referred, even though they're not dying.

Nursing homes that force patients into therapies they don't want - or need - in order to bill at a higher rate. patients who are rehabbed to death ( forced into rehab even while they're dying...)

Unnecessary equipment ordered for patients.

Ad nauseum.

16   curious2   ignore (0)   2013 Apr 27, 9:51pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

BTW, just in case anyone remained unaware of drug companies paying doctors to prescribe profitably, here is yet another article on that: "US sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks"

19   Ceffer   ignore (3)   2014 Feb 16, 4:02pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Is there a drug I can take to stop worrying about all these drugs people are taking?

20   curious2   ignore (0)   2014 Feb 16, 4:24pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Ceffer says

Is there a drug I can take to stop worrying about all these drugs people are taking?

IGNORITAL(TM) (disregardis onpurposis), "As Seen on TV." Homefool swears by it.

23   APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch   ignore (43)   2014 May 8, 1:36pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

curious2 says

apocalyptic hyperbole



24   curious2   ignore (0)   2014 May 8, 2:04pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch says

curious2 says

apocalyptic hyperbole



Sorry - living in the SFBA fortress, I hadn't realized the cannibal anarchy was already upon us. Now I know, the cannibals are literally drugging pregnant women and cutting babies out of wombs in a grotesque feast of mammon, leaving these women scarred for life and overbilling every mandatory insurance customer and taxpayer for it all. Laughing in greed, with blood dripping from their teeth and sinews and umbilical cords hanging from their mouths, they snarl their appreciation for the mandatory insurance that enables them to disguise the hideous cost as a "benefit." (And yes, the feast had begun even before Obamacare; the legislation merely aggravates a pre-existing condition, force-feeding a glutton who was already morbidly obese.)

25   MMR   ignore (0)   2014 May 14, 7:28am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Hospital went bankrupt in 2008 and was acquired by Prime Healthcare Associates. Later on they were upcoding malnutrition to kwashiorkor. 16.1% on medicare were diagnosed as having kwashiorkor, compared with 0.2% rate for the rest of California hospitals. Stories like that are the reason why Kamala Harris has basically prevented Prime Healthcare from acquiring more hospitals in California.....Reddy has friends on both sides of the aisle in California and now, I doubt the kwashiorkor rate is so high in Redding.

curious2 says

According to a previous report:

With 114 hospitals and $14 billion in yearly revenue, Tenet Health Systems is this country's second largest healthcare company.

It is also one of the most profitable, having built much of its business on critical care centers which specialize in expensive high-risk procedures, such as heart surgery... Tenet is now facing allegations that it made some of its profits from overbilling, false diagnoses, and - in at least one hospital - major surgery performed on patients who don't need it

One of Tenet's most profitable hospitals is Redding Medical Center, located in the shadow of Mount Shasta in Redding, Calif., a quiet town surrounded by farmland.

26   Ceffer   ignore (3)   2014 May 14, 8:08am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

curious2 says

Laughing in greed, with blood dripping from their teeth and sinews and umbilical cords hanging from their mouths, they snarl their appreciation for the mandatory insurance that enables them to disguise the hideous cost as a "benefit."

Raw afterbirth is supposed to be good eatin'. Maybe they should start stocking the surgical suites with fromage and wine, as long as the docs don't eat the babies and charge for that, too.

27   curious2   ignore (0)   2014 May 27, 12:50pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

"Plano’s Baylor hospital faces hard questions after claims against former neurosurgeon"

It will be interesting to see how this story plays in Texas, where Karl Rove and GW Bush surfed to power on "tort reform." California has it too. It certainly has not reduced costs; to the contrary, the effect is to align the financial incentives all one way: do more billable procedures, without regard to risks. Thanks to malpractice insurance with community rating, the most unscrupulous operators offload their costs onto more careful practitioners, who cannot compete and are driven out of business.

28   Automan Empire   ignore (2)   2014 May 28, 1:05am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Yeah, don't even get started on dental chains whose business model is to hire indebted recent graduates and push unneeded procedures.

Procedures like filing down a 15yo girl's healthy natural teeth and installing crowns.

29   anonymous   ignore (null)   2014 May 28, 1:16am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

"Yes, you do need braces"

30   anonymous   ignore (null)   2014 May 28, 1:18am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

I awoke early this morning, to michelle obama scaling the side of our house with a pitchfork.

31   zzyzzx   ignore (1)   2014 May 28, 3:48am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

elliemae says

Unnecessary equipment ordered for patients.


32   Ceffer   ignore (3)   2014 May 28, 4:43am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Automan Empire says

Yeah, don't even get started on dental chains whose business model is to hire indebted recent graduates and push unneeded procedures.

Procedures like filing down a 15yo girl's healthy natural teeth and installing crowns.

In the heyday of Medi-Cal dentistry, the clinics in L.A. would send buses to the ghetto and engage in "capping" i.e. they would pay cash to the "patients" to drive them to the clinics for dental procedures to be billed to the state. It was eventually outlawed, but still, the patients were used as identity shills for billing purposes to tap the state funding. A few graduates became rapid millionaires by engaging their families in their practices with Medi-Cal fraud. Some were caught, others not. Like it or not, foreign graduates primed to exploit the idiot American welfare system were frequent offenders.

If you create a money spigot, there is always a genius who finds the most direct route to tap it come hell or high water, ethics or patient care out the window, it is why our insurance system and medical billing are crippled.

33   Ceffer   ignore (3)   2014 May 28, 4:49am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

errc says

I awoke early this morning, to michelle obama scaling the side of our house with a pitchfork.

Michelle's fondest ambition is to scale Everest without oxygen and only a pitchfork. She will twerk decapitate her Sherpa on the summit.

34   anonymous   ignore (null)   2014 May 28, 4:56am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

I spent all morning stringing slab bacon from the gutters like christmas lights to keep that deviant muslin witch from making her way atop the roof.

35   Ceffer   ignore (3)   2014 May 28, 5:25am     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

sbh says

Automan Empire says

Yeah, don't even get started on dental chains whose business model is to hire indebted recent graduates and push unneeded procedures.

Root planing is one such, and some hygienists are super pushy. The industry standard schedule for dental care they want to impose is akin to changing your engine oil every month. And even the receptionists feign insult when they aren't allowed to force appointments upon you. Going on an "as needed" basis is as frowned upon as fully paying off credit card balances each month. We aren't supposed to think for ourselves.

This is true, but one of the reasons is also that compensations for routine preventative care are negligible, don't cover office overhead and are bankruptcy bait, so the incentive is the "bill up" for survival if nothing else.

But again, that is part of the "broken" system where incentives and practices are awry.

38   Tenpoundbass   ignore (15)   2014 Aug 18, 6:20am     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

If you've got insurance you can get treatment you don't need. But even if you have cash, you can't get much desperately needed treatment without insurance.

I know I'm missing something, we just had healthcare reform for Christ sakes!

39   curious2   ignore (0)   2015 Mar 15, 1:45pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

40   MMR   ignore (0)   2015 Mar 15, 3:43pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Ceffer says

paper mill

I call it insurance mill but paper mill is probably appropriate also

41   CornPoptheOriginalGangster   ignore (5)   2015 Mar 15, 4:30pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

I wonder what/if insurance companies are allowed to own labs and testing facilities.

Insurance Companies own the labs, they jack up your labs' rates, then use the new higher rates to justify raising premiums on the insurance side.

42   curious2   ignore (0)   2015 Mar 15, 5:32pm     ↓ dislike (1)   quote   flag        

thunderlips11 says

Insurance Companies own the labs, they jack up your labs' rates, then use the new higher rates to justify raising premiums on the insurance side.

Yes, I got Disliked for pointing that out, but it's very common and it goes beyond labs. Insurance corporations and hospital corporations are merging, in order to shift revenue from one pocket to the other. The parent corporation raises fees at the hospital subsidiary in order to shift profits to the (unregulated) hospital side and away from the (slightly regulated) insurance side; as an added bonus, they can overcharge "out of network" and uninsured patients more than ever. Also, even "non-profit" hospitals that pay no tax may house for profit labs, with myriad opportunities for stock, options, and other revenue sharing incentives. This is a major factor driving unnecessary and injurious tests, including radiation that has nearly zero actual cost but can be billed for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The typical Obamneycare enthusiast would rather roll his eyes than open them, so he sees either nothing or a dizzyingly skewed worldview.

43   carrieon   ignore (0)   2015 Mar 15, 6:24pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

No need to worry anymore. The IRS just decided to start auditing government spending and use the waste collected to pay off the national debt!

44   MMR   ignore (0)   2015 Mar 15, 8:41pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

MMR says

Prime Healthcare Associates

Looks like the DCHS Prime sale fell through....It's pretty much a done deal that those hospitals will have to declare bankruptcy.


While I don't like to call a billionaire a victim, especially one who has a spotty track record, Prime was the best candidate to keep the hospital open and honor the pension agreements of the SEIU workers. Instead of agreeing to 5-7 years running the hospital the way it was running (hemorrhaging money) she asked them to do that for 10 years. Prime Healthcare would be required to operate the hospitals as they are now, despite the fact that they are losing more than $10 million a month. "[The Daughters chain] would lose nearly $3 billion over the 10 years the conditions are in effect. Conditions dictate operations far beyond the scope of what is typical, including service offerings, financial reporting, governance, staffing levels, on-call coverage, seismic compliance and insurance contracts."

......One thing that isn't going to happen, Collis said, is Harris applying less stringent terms to any other buyer of the Daughters' chain. The best a buyer could hope for, he said, is that the attorney general might provide some relief down the road.

Translation: Prime was the best offer available, even if they would have cut some of the safety net operations of the hospital to stay afloat.....now the hospital will crash and burn and it will be interesting to see what effect that will have on the pensions of the SEIU rank-and-file.


This article represents essentially the first time Prem Reddy was ever spoken about in a positive light in the LA Times.

45   curious2   ignore (0)   2015 May 18, 4:28pm     ↓ dislike (0)   quote   flag        

Update: Even before they start in on fraudulent admissions, "Hospitals grab at least $1 billion in extra fees for emergency room visits"

« First    « Previous    Comments 7 - 46 of 46    Last »

about   best comments   contact   one year ago   suggestions