Modern Healthcare reported last month that the Miami U.S. attorney's office has been involved in extensive medical-necessity reviews involving the False Claims Act for the implantation of sophisticated cardiac devices called implantable cardioverter defibrillators at hundreds of U.S. hospitals since 2010.
In its second quarter earnings statement Monday, HCA reported that its income before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization increased 71% compared to the same quarter last year, to $391 million from $229 million. Yet its stock price on the New York Stock Exchange had declined about 7% by 1 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, HCA disclosed on Monday that the New York Times appeared to be preparing one or more stories about the company “making broad points concerning patient care provided at our company's affiliated hospitals.”
HCA noted that the newspaper (PDF) has provided examples of alleged patient harm, and made inquiries about the medical necessity and volume of cardiac catheterizations and percutaneous coronary interventions at some of its163 hospitals.
“These physician-driven decisions have been and are the subject of much debate across the country, between regions, within regions, and even within the same medical staff or medical group,” HCA officials wrote. “Thus, variation and disagreement among physicians indicates the difficulty in determining the medical necessity of these procedures.”
In a news story, the New York Times confirmed that it provided a list of questions to HCA in late July that included inquiries about physician decisions regarding interventional cardiology procedures at Florida hospitals. The newspaper's questions also asked about "other major hospital businesses," the Times story said."
Officials with the newspaper declined to comment.
UPDATE: 8:30 p.m. ET: Read the New York Times story, "Hospital chain inquiry cited unnecessary cardiac work."