Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s new top executive, Thomas Frist Jr., M.D., said last week the Nashville-based company will cooperate fully with ongoing federal and state investigations into the company's business and billing practices.
"We will also ensure that all Columbia facilities and employees are in full compliance with the law," Frist said in a prepared statement.
Frist, Columbia's new chairman and chief executive officer, replaced Richard Scott, who resigned under pressure last week amid the burgeoning investigations and reports of merger talks with Tenet Healthcare Corp.
On July 16, about 35 federal warrants were served in at least seven states on former and current Columbia facilities and several companies that do business with Columbia. FBI agents representing five federal and state law enforcement agencies seized records regarding the company's laboratory and home-care services (July 21, p. 2). That followed the March FBI raid on the company's facilities in El Paso, Texas.
Also, five Columbia employees were subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury last week in Florida as part of the investigation.
Parallel investigations have been launched in at least two states, Alabama and Texas, concerning the company's Medicaid billing practices.
In a July 25 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it has hired outside legal counsel to defend itself in the investigation.
In addition to the five subpoenaed employees, the company disclosed that it received three "extensive subpoenas" from HHS' inspector general's office. It said two dealt with its home-care business and one with its billing practices.
So far, no charges or indictments have been filed against the company or any of its executives.