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Health Management Associates investigation
NATIONWIDE -- The hospital chain that owns and operates the Santa Rosa Medical Center is under investigation by the Department of Justice.
They are looking into accusations of fraud.
Health Management Associates owns and operates 71 hospital nationwide.
They have 23 hospitals in Florida.
Santa Rosa Medical Center is the only one in our area. But it is *not facing accusations of wrong doing.
The lawsuit claims the former CEO of Health Management Associates, Gary Newsome, pressured emergency physicians to admit more patients regardless of their medical needs to boost hospital profits.
- The lawsuits filed against Health Management Associates claim the healthcare provider pressured it's physicians and doctors into admitting more patients than necessary.
- The extra patients allowed Health Management Associates to bill federal healthcare programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare to increase company profits.
- The suits also claim Health Management Associates paid kickbacks to physician groups with bonuses, extra office space, and awarded contracts in exchange for the extra patients.
- Which if proven true, violates Anti-kickback and Starke Statutes which are designed to help physicians keep the patient's best interest at heart.
Carol Rogers - SR resident
"There are not any of them that are perfect, they just have to do the best they can do and I really don't know what their best is because I'm not in that situation"
The Department of Justice has a Healthcare fraud prevention team to tackle cases like this.
The agency says unnecessary hospital admissions can cost the government millions of dollars in fees.
Health Management Associates offered a statement on the allegations.
They say, "While our legal team address these matters with the Department of Justice investigation, HMA associates and physicians who practice at our facilities are focused on providing the highest quality patient care in all our hospitals.
HMA spokesman tells me Santa Rosa Medical Center is not mentioned in any of the lawsuits the company is facing.