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Columbia/HCA Investigations Continue

[Posted 4/1/97] The New York Times reports that Columbia/HCA is undergoing an array of investigations by federal and state law enforcement agencies.

Last month, a Federal Jury in Texas awarded $6.5 million in damages in a case where Columbia/HCA had unlawfully used secret payments to induce Ambrose Aboud to defraud his business partner.

Columbia/HCA is being investigated by the Health Care Financing Administration for "upcoding"—a practice where the seriousness of diagnosis is inflated to raise reimbursement.

The government is also investigating referral patterns of physicians associated with Columbia/HCA hospitals.

(Editor’s Note: The criminal investigation into Columbia/HCA business practices in El Paso continues. The conviction last month is deeply troubling. Is El Paso an isolated instance or have such payoffs been a fundamental part of Columbia’s growth strategy? wln)