Justice Department probes HCA cardiology care

Agency to assess medical necessity of some cardiology services

By Tom Murphy
AP Business Writer

HCA Holdings Inc. said Monday the Justice Department wants information about heart procedures performed at some of its locations.

The New York Times published a report late Monday citing evidence that some HCA hospitals were performing unnecessary, and sometimes dangerous, heart procedures with the aim of driving up profits for the hospital chain.

HCA said the civil division of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Miami has asked for information about reviews that assess the medical necessity of some interventional cardiology services.

It also said the civil division of the Justice Department has contacted HCA as part of a national review of whether charges to the federal government for implantable cardio-defibrillators met government criteria.

The company said the Justice Department indicated it will review billing and medical records at 95 HCA hospitals. HCA runs 163 hospitals and 110 free-standing surgery centers.

HCA spokesman Ed Fishbough declined to elaborate on the information requests, which were detailed in a quarterly report filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.