doctors

Unnecessary cardiac procedures being performed by greedy doctors, whistleblower reveals

Friday, August 31, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: cardiac procedures, medical fraud, whistleblowers

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(NaturalNews) Imagine being admitted to the hospital and told that you need to have a stent surgically installed in your body to treat a blocked artery, only to later learn after the surgery that you were just fine, and that your doctor was simply trying to generate more profits for the hospital system. This is precisely what one whistleblower has come forward and said is happening within the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) system, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S.

C.T. Tomlinson is a nurse that used to work at the Lawnwood Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Fort Pierce, Florida, that is until he came forward with allegations that at least one doctor at his facility had been performing phony cardiac surgeries on healthy patients. After filing a complaint with HCA's chief ethics officer Stephen Johns, it was determined that a number of doctors and surgeons within the HCA system had been performing unnecessary cardiac procedures on healthy patients since at least 2002.

In a private memo that was apparently not intended for public release, Johnson admitted that Tomlinson's claims were substantiated, and that unnecessary cardiac procedures were routinely occurring throughout HCA, based on evidence compiled as part of an internal investigation. Thousands of patients appear to have underwent invasive surgeries when they did not actually need them, according to the review, and many of them became severely injured or died as a result.

The bulk of these unnecessary surgeries appears to have taken place at HCA hospitals throughout Florida, where the population of elderly, retired individuals is generally higher than it is in other parts of the country. HCA hospitals in or near the cities of Tampa, Miami, and Port St. Lucie have all been named in the investigation as harboring corrupt doctors and surgeons that perform unneeded surgeries.

Despite admitting the severity of the problem, HCA is reportedly unwilling to show that it properly notified Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance companies about its findings, which is required under the law. The group also appears to have shirked its responsibility to notify the patients that may have had unnecessary surgeries at its hospitals, even though these individuals are likely entitled to compensation and damages.

Meanwhile, thousands of pages' worth of internal emails and memos exchanged between HCA executives reveal that, rather than being concerned about the well-being of its patients in the midst of the controversy, HCA officials have been more concerned about the hospital system's profits and bottom line. And many of the doctors that have been outed as fraudsters are still working at HCA hospitals.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.nytimes.com

http://www.againstcorruption.org/briberycase.asp?id=841

http://www.telegram.com/article/20120808/NEWS/120809608/-1/NEWS04

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