CORPORATE REGULATION–HOSPITALS

Republicans are fighting virtually any type of regulation of corporations–regardless of industry, they seem to like them all. Just think of the Spills and Leaks on Big Oil’s Watch. How about Upper Big Branch, where 25 coal miners died in West Virginia? Safety issues with the Big Pharmaceutical Companies? Enron? And, of course, the problems with the Big Banks (the “Too Bigs”) that surely contributed to the Great Recession of 2007-2009–and on-going transgressions seem to be continuing on a regular basis? And, of course, the Shareholders are left to pay the fines.

But, let’s look at another chapter of the story–coming from the Health Care Industry–or at least it’s largest For-Profit Hospital Chain, HCA Corp (controlling 163 hospitals Nationally), specifically. Two articles from the NY Times are as follows: Hospital Chain Inquiry Cited Unnecessary Cardiac Work, by Reed Abelson and Julie Creswell, on August 8, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/07/business/hospital-chain-internal-reports-found-dubious-cardiac-work.html?scp=1&sq=hca%20unnecessary%20cardiac%20procedures&st=Search&pagewanted=print, and A Giant Hospital Chain Is Blazing a Profit Trail, on August 14, also by Reed and Creswell, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/business/hca-giant-hospital-chain-creates-a-windfall-for-private-equity.html?hp&pagewanted=print.

The first story lists the unnecessary cardiac procedures performed at several of the HCA Hospitals. In the second, the Hospital was reported for inconsistencies in Patient Dialysis Treatment. The nurse who blew the whistle on the unnecessary cardiac procedures was fired and the physician who did the same regarding dialysis, did not have his Attending Physician Credentials renewed. This is a common corporate occurrence.

There is an interesting bit of History behind HCA Corp. headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. It was co-founded, in 1968, by Dr. Thomas Frist, Sr. and, his son, Dr. Thomas Frist, Jr. had served as the company’s CEO. If that name sounds familiar, their is another Dr. Frist, former Republican Leader, Senator William Frist, MD (R-TN).

In Florida, our First Term Republican Governor, Rick Scott, was the CEO when HCA paid a $1.7 Billion Fine to Medicare, the largest at that time, for Health Care Fraud. Oh, but there is more…

HCA was purchased by a Private Equity Group, in 2006, led by Bain Capital, Kohlberg, Kravitz and Roberts, and Co. (KKR), and Merrill Lynch Global Capital (now BAML Capital Partners). Then, in 2011, it issued an Initial Public Offering of 38% of the Capital Stock. Now, I cannot assume that Mitt Romney knew anything about the HCA Acquisition, however, as a former CEO who receives significant payments from Bain, I cannot believe that he doesn’t review the major holdings with some former colleagues.

Now, if the several situations, at HCA, are also potentially occurring at other hospitals, shouldn’t that require on-going regulation? And, when you look across-the-board at Corporate Industry, do you trust the Corporate Leadership to police themselves? If you do, let’s discuss that bridge that I am trying to sell in NYC.

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