HCA Profits Soar as Patient Care Suffers

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/bu...y.html?_r=1&hp

    Just read this article about the HCA corporation. I've never worked at an HCA hospital but have heard plenty of negative comments about them on AN. I'm also from the area in South FL discussed where HCA hospitals about, and shudder at the thought of my parents being a patient at one someday. I simply can't understand why anyone can think that making healthcare for-profit is a good idea.
  2. Visit LibraSunCNM profile page

    About LibraSunCNM, BSN, MSN, CNM

    Joined: Jan '08; Posts: 927; Likes: 3,571


  3. by   tamadrummer
    Quote from LilyRoseRN

    Just read this article about the HCA corporation. I've never worked at an HCA hospital but have heard plenty of negative comments about them on AN. I'm also from the area in South FL discussed where HCA hospitals about, and shudder at the thought of my parents being a patient at one someday. I simply can't understand why anyone can think that making healthcare for-profit is a good idea.
    Don't believe everything you read in the paper. I did my mental health clinical in an HCA facility that is of the highest quality available and half my class did critical care and leadership in another HCA hospital. Both hospitals are fantastic places for patients and nurses. Just because a company makes money doesn't make them horrible, and because they make money doesn't mean another place has to suffer. I did not notice anything lacking and never heard staff whining and complaining that the evil shareholders and 401k retirement plan holders that are invested in healthcare are stealing supply money for themselves. The newspaper is going to slam anyone making a profit as evil. I don't work for them only because they are almost 2 hours from me, I hated driving there for clinical but the experience was fantastic!
  4. by   LibraSunCNM
    That's great that you had a good experience at HCA. However, I don't see that as a reason not to believe what is in this well-written, thoroughly researched article, which is supplemented by countless comments I've read on this board about the HCA corporation as being grossly understaffed, unsafe workplaces. It is absurd to say that a newspaper would slam anyone for simply making a profit for no reason. I stand by my opinion that for-profit healthcare is not a good thing.
  5. by   tamadrummer
    You probably don't want to look at those not for profits either. We lack lots of stuff and are always understaffed but I'm greatful for my job and happy to be working. It's probably ok to have those issues though because they are not for profit. Those administrators don't take any higher wage than any other CEO cno. Im going to bow out of this because it goes no where. But without profits, retirement funds and millions of other financial necessaries go unfunded because money has to come from somewhere.
  6. by   DoGoodThenGo
    During the Great Recession, when many hospitals across the country were nearly brought to their knees by growing numbers of uninsured patients, one hospital system not only survived-it thrived.

  7. by   Miss Lizzie
    I work for an HCA facility and we are always well-staffed. I work on a med-surg remote telemetry floor and we are never given more than 5 patients per nurse. Most days our ratio is 4 to 1
  8. by   TheCommuter
    Threads merged.
  9. by   dudette10
    The article focuses on the billing system employed by HCA facilities. Only two examples are given about quality of care--the story of the man who went in for weight-loss surgery (puzzling that the author of the article called it a "relatively simple surgery" Huh?) and the triage methods used in the ER.

    The article spends a lot of time talking about mergers, acquisitions, and profits (about three pages of the five-page article), seemingly in an attempt to persuade readers that HCA is a green-eyed monster. But there is little evidence provided, except for the two examples I cited above.

    Look, I'm not a fan of some of the methods used by administrators to increase patient satisfaction and cut costs. Nurses usually bear the brunt of increased workload and ridiculous, insincere scripting. However, I also see how appropriate billing is important to keeping a hospital solvent. As long as HCA is billing appropriately and triaging appropriately, I don't see the problem. As for the one example of a patient with pneumonia who was triaged inappropriately, I'm sure that could happen in any healthcare facility in the US unfortunately. Triage is an art and a science, and some things get missed.

    In other words, this article does nothing to prove that HCA is a scary money-generating machine that treats patients inappropriately or unsafely.
  10. by   LibraSunCNM
    I disagree that the only quality of care issues mentioned were the man with bariatric surgery, and the ER triaging system. They also stated that many HCA hospitals are among the worst in terms of pressure ulcer prevention, which is supported by the many claims I've read over the years about bare-bones staffing. I'm glad a couple of other posters have had good experiences at HCA. I feel that the issues presented in the article suggest that HCA is not trying to keep their hospitals "solvent," they are making obscene profits at the expense of patient care. But that was just my take on it.
  11. by   not.done.yet
    I work for HCA and feel very proud of the work we do there and the culture we do it under. I am ICU stepdown and our ratio is 3-4:1. I never lack for supplies, most days we have three techs in addition to any sitters we need, we have a charge nurse who does not have to take patients, a telemetry tech and a unit secretary.

    ETA: We are also actively hiring. We have lost some benefits over the last couple of years, which stinks, but merit raises were given this year, which is more than many have gotten lately. We also have active plans to build and renovate. My job feels very secure and I have been exceptionally supported as a new grad. We are a Magnet facility, utilize EBP as a matter of course, pay great attention to core measures and have regular opportunities for continuing education as well as excellent tuition reimbursement. A good culture has been fostered between the doctors and the nurses as well. My work environment is pretty great.

    If this is the devil, I guess I am okay being evil, asI feel pretty successful where I am at, feel good about the work I do and I don't dread going into work most days. I feel good about being an HCA nurse so....something doesn't jive with this to me. I am not a Mitt Romney fan in the slightest but the article pointing out that he is a co-founder of the company that bought HCA pretty much turns this into a less than credible article. It shows an agenda and an attempt to elicit a certain response from a certain population reading it.

    I am not saying every HCA hospital is great or even good, but I also don't think every HCA hospital is under the devil's umbrella. Like most places and corporations, there is the good, the great, the bad and the ugly.
    Last edit by not.done.yet on Aug 15, '12
  12. by   DebblesRN
    To each his own I guess.

    I worked for HCA for 10 years and loved it. I ALWAYS got my annual raise, my benefits were amazing, and the nurse to patient ratio was fine. Patient care was always exceptional. I do understand, however, that not every HCA facility is perfection. Even the one I worked for had it's issues, but you'll find something you don't like about any place you work.

    I work for a not for profit hospital now, and it sucks. No raises in 3 years, we are 20% behind in pay grade in our area, short staffed ALL THE TIME, and the benefits SUCK. I can't complain about patient care too much, but couldn't at HCA either.

    Personally, I think for profit is the way to go. It is more financially stable, and the hospitals in the system bringing in less money can be bailed out and supported by the profit from other hospitals in the chain that are faring better.
  13. by   wooh
    Our local HCAs are horrible. 9+ to 1 ratios. Ran out all of the experienced RNs and replaced them with new grad LPNs. And very doctor centered, you don't DARE question anything one of the profit generating MDs might say or do if you're merely a profit sucking nurse.
  14. by   applewhitern
    During the last week of April, I had a medical problem and wound up in an HCA hospital. I had previously worked at this particular hospital, so I knew the care would be good. No problem there. I have good medical insurance, paid my deductible upfront. Had 2 CT scans and numerous procedures involving anesthesia services, etc. After I was discharged, I wound right back up in the ER the very next day, due to some problems I continued to have. More labs, more tests, etc. My total bill there was only $750 after my insurance paid out. Six weeks later, they turned me over to a collection agency!! I was recovering, and simply waiting for the insurance to pay the anesthesiologist, surgeon, the patho labs that were sent out to another agency, etc. I was getting tons of bills for stuff I didn't even know for sure what they were for. I simply wanted to wait until they all came in, and pay it all at once, since it was 2 separate hospitalizations, plus the ER charged me separately. I simply could not believe they turned it over to an outside collection service, in just 6 weeks from the first day I went there. I didn't appreciate dings on my credit rating. I could understand it if I simply refused to pay up, but not in just 6 weeks. Heck, let me recover first!