Rick Scott's Columbia/HCA Fraud

The speaker in this video is ex-New York Times Reporter Kurt Eichenwald giving a keynote speech at the 2010 HCCA Compliance Institute. In this short clip, Eichenwald describes the culture at Columbia/HCA as one driven by a "cult of personality" centered around Rick Scott. He goes on to describe the fraud that went on at the company under Scott's management as systemic, and directly related to the culture and attitude of the company, along with an utter lack of compliance safety nets.

This is the man Florida just elected as governor of their state. With due respect to my friends in Florida, WHAT were you thinking?

Via NPR:

It wasn't so long ago that Scott built the biggest and brashest chain of hospitals in the land. Back in the '90s, Columbia/HCA, as the company was then called, had hospitals from coast to coast and a reputation as one shrewdly run operation.

But there was trouble under the surface, as whistle-blowers and government investigations ultimately revealed.

Columbia/HCA's profits were fueled in part by kickbacks paid to doctors and inflated bills sent to Medicare and Medicaid, the Justice Department alleged.

Of course, Scott excused himself during the campaign by saying he was never convicted of any crimes. Well yes, that's true. He wasn't, mostly because he turned tail and ran days before FBI raids on HCA facilities. Still, the company was nearly destroyed in the process, and ultimately had to pay the largest fine for Medicare fraud in history.

Novelist Carl Hiassen has a pretty blunt assessment:

Of his years as chief of Columbia/HCA, Scott says he takes responsibility for what occurred, but insists he didn’t know anything illegal was going on.

The fraud was so massive and institutionalized that his statement can’t be taken seriously. If he truly didn’t know what was happening all around him, he’s an incompetent fool.

Yes, that was my sense of things, too, and of course, he *did* know what was happening.

Meanwhile, the man who can’t grasp the definition of a promise has plenty of big ones to peddle. At every appearance, Scott grandly pledges to single-handedly slash property taxes, create 700,000 new jobs and shrink state government.

And right after that, he’ll climb into a great big balloon and fly Dorothy and Toto back to Kansas.

This is the guy Floridians have elected to implement the Affordable Care Act. The same guy that owns health centers across Florida. The same guy who allowed systemic and rampant fraud of the federal government to take place.

Good job, Florida.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.