Scott keeps distance from latest HCA probeby John Kennedy | August 7th, 2012
Gov. Rick Scott kept his distance Tuesday from allegations that his former hospital chain is being investigated by federal officials over billing for unnecessary medical treatments, mostly at its Florida hospitals.
Scott’s role as chief executive of Columbia/HCA Corp., haunted his race for governor, with the Republican repeatedly forced to defend his leadership that ended in 1997, three years before the chain paid $1.7 billion to settled federal claims of overbilling Medicare and Medicaid.
Scott was never charged and has said he left the company before it engaged in the practices that led to the federal penalties.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami is looking into an internal HCA review prompted by whistleblower charges that doctors at its Florida hospitals had performed unnecessary cardiocatheter work on patients at hospitals in Fort Pierce, Miami and in the Tampa Bay-area between 2002 and 2010.
The U.S. Justice Department is looking into practices at 10 hospitals, mostly in Florida, according to HCA.
“I’m sure that the federal agencies are going to look into anything like that,” Scott said Tuesday. “But you know I haven’t been involved in that company in 15 years.”
HCA owns 160 hospitals — including JFK Medical Center in Atlantis and Palms West Medical Center near Wellington — and 110 surgery centers.