Two former employees are suing Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., charging that workers at the chain's Nashville, Tenn., walk-in clinics were told to perform procedures outside their training.
Registered nurse David Mark Moore, who quit in May, says in his lawsuit that nurses were taking X-rays and analyzing blood samples while office managers gave flu shots at Columbia Care Medical Center.
"My lab reports were unreliable at best, but doctors were using them to make diagnostic decisions on," Moore said. "They were trying to run a clinic system on a shoestring. They had people doing as many jobs as they could."
Cheryl Read, vice president for marketing, said Columbia hadn't yet been served with the lawsuits and she was unable to comment on their contents.
"The allegations are unfounded," Read said.
The nation's largest for-profit hospital company, headquartered in Nashville, operates eight walk-in clinics in the Nashville area.
Moore and laboratory technician Robert Lair charge in their lawsuits that they were forced to resign because of "unlawful" demands from clinic officials.
When he complained last spring about being required to handle jobs he wasn't trained for, Moore said the chain's clinical director told him she wasn't sure how much good he would be to the company if he couldn't do what he was hired to do.
Lair resigned in May. Moore said he also quit his job in May, concerned he could lose his license if he continued taking X-rays and analyzing blood samples-procedures he wasn't qualified for.
"They were sending secretaries out to give flu shots to people in Kroger stores," he said.
Moore seeks $750,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. He said he only recently found a job at a home healthcare agency.
Lair, who remains unemployed, is asking for $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.
Sharon Adkins, president of the Tennessee Nurses Association, said she is not aware of such staffing problems at healthcare facilities in the state.