HCA SETTLES CLAIM

Physician's Money Digest, March15 2003, Volume 10, Issue 5

HCA, the nation's largest for-profithospital chain, has announcedthat it has agreed to paythe government $631 million to settlefraud claims relating to Medicareand Medicaid reimbursements,while admitting no guilt. The companyhad already agreed to pay$250 million to settle "cost-reportissues" with the Centers for Medicareand Medicaid, with another$17.5 million going to resolveclaims by state Medicaid officials.HCA is run by the brother of Dr.Bill Frist, the recently electedmajority leader of the US Senate,and was founded by his father. Dr.Frist reportedly owns millions ofdollars' worth of HCA stock held ina blind trust. The Feds also haveTenet Healthcare, the nation'snumber-2 hospital chain, under themicroscope for alleged Medicarefraud, seeking $323 million inpenalties. After attempts to negotiatefailed, Tenet has vowed to fightthe allegations.