Heart failure cases surge among Prime hospital's Medicare patients

  1. For three years, a small hospital east of Los Angeles has billed Medicare for the costs of confronting what appears to be a cardiac crisis of unprecedented dimension.

    From 2008 through 2010, Chino Valley Medical Center in San Bernardino County claimed that 35.2 percent of its Medicare patients were suffering from acute heart failure - a dangerous, often-deadly breakdown in the heart's ability to pump blood.
    That's six times the state average, according to a California Watch analysis of Medicare billing data.

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