HCA Reveals Federal Probe During Earnings Call

Nashville-based HCA says it’s under federal investigation. The nation’s largest hospital company says the Justice Department wants to know how some of its hospitals determine the need for certain heart procedures.

HCA says lawyers from the US Attorney’s office in Miami are questioning the medical necessity of operations like stints and angioplasty. Senior Vice President Vic Campbell says the company is cooperating and handing over whatever information investigators request.

“At this point, we’re early in our analysis. But we’ve identified about ten facilities. A majority of those in Florida, but I there’s two or three in other states.”


HCA also issued a four page ‘pre-buttal’ Monday to what it says is a forthcoming New York Times article. The company believes the newspaper will call into question its practices regarding indigent care, how emergency room doctors are paid, and the number of heart catherizations performed at its hospitals in Florida. In the written statement, HCA says it’s close to the national average for the number of catherizations performed by its doctors. However the company did not release data specific to Florida.

HCA revealed the federal probe and the New York Times investigation during a conference call about its second quarter earnings. The company reported $8.1 billion in revenue, compared with $7.2 billion for the same period last year. However, shares in the company dropped in reaction to news of the investigation.

Update: 8/7/2012: Hours after HCA released its ‘pre-buttal’ to the Times, the paper published an article on cardiac care at HCA’s hospitals in Florida. Read the article here.

HCA’s Response to the New York Times [PDF]

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