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NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Hospital Corporations of America, one of Nashville's top employers, recently notified shareholders of a pending review by federal officials.
The Nashville-based company reports that the Justice Department is reviewing charges for procedures involving some coronary procedures. In its quarterly earnings report, the company warned investors that the investigation could give rise to penalties under the False Claims Act.
HCA is also apparently the subject of an upcoming New York Times article, to which the company has published a "pre-buttal" on its web site.
"We understand that The New York Times may be publishing one or more articles about the
company. Based upon its questions, the Times appears to be making broad points concerning
patient care provided at our company's affiliated hospitals. As a result, we would like to share
some background information.
One topic we believe may be addressed is how physician decisions are made regarding when it
is medically necessary to perform cardiac procedures, such as cardiac catheterizations and
percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI). These physician-driven decisions have been and are
the subject of much debate within the cardiology community. Accordingly, there is variation
across the country, between regions, within regions, and even within the same medical staff or
medical group regarding this issue. In addition, even when expert outside reviewers are
engaged, they themselves may disagree on the same patient data. Thus, variation and
disagreement among physicians indicates the difficulty in determining the medical necessity of
Another topic which may be addressed is the volume of cardiac catheterizations and PCIs.
Based upon Medicare inpatient data, trends for HCA-affiliated hospitals are similar to the rest of
the nation for these procedures. Moreover, our data indicate that the number of both cardiac
catheterizations and PCIs performed at HCA-affiliated facilities has declined over the last decade. "
HCA wouldn't be the first mid-state health care company to run afoul of the False Claims Act, which seeks to prevent contractors from wasting taxpayer money. Maury Regional recently settled with federal officials for more than three million dollars.