The New York Times recently provided significant coverage regarding the lawsuits pending against Health Management Associates (HMA). As we reported, the federal government has intervened in eight lawsuits against HMA, one of which was filed by Goldberg Kohn on behalf of their client, a well-respected emergency room physician.
As the New York Times article details, HMA – which is currently the country’s third-largest for-profit hospital chain– has allegedly been engaged in the practice of admitting patients who did not need to be admitted, and then charging the government for those unnecessary admissions.
The New York Times article says:
To reach admission goals, administrators were directed to monitor on a daily basis the percentage of patients being admitted, using a customized software called Pro-Med. The progress of the doctors in meeting their goals was updated daily on the scorecards…According to a former physician who cited multiple examples, patients who did not need inpatient treatment often were admitted, which allowed the hospital to bill Medicare and Medicaid for more care…Executives who raised questions about H.M.A.’s policies and procedures were often fired.
As the New York Times article states, HMA shareholders recently approved the planned $7.6 billion acquisition of the company by Community Health Systems (CHS), which is also the subject of litigation and an investigation regarding alleged healthcare fraud. When the deal closes at the end of the month, it will create the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chain by facility, with more than 200 facilities across the country.