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Rick Scott, Who Made Millions as Hospital CEO, Now Faults Hospital Costs

| September 28, 2015

rick scott columbia hca

Memories of Columbia/HCA. (Jaxport)

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday said he will push a series of proposals targeting “price gouging” in the hospital industry, including a proposal that would require hospitals to post online the prices and average payments for services they provide.

The proposals, which Scott said he will ask the Legislature to approve, are the latest in a series of moves by the governor — who made millions of dollars as a hospital-company CEO — to try to revamp the industry.

“The high cost of health care continues to hurt some of our most vulnerable families in Florida, and the best way to guard against unfairly high hospital costs being passed on to patients is to require hospitals to be fully transparent with their own costs and patient charges,” Scott said in a news release.

But Bruce Rueben, president of the Florida Hospital Association, said his group is working on proposed legislation that could help increase transparency in the health-care industry. Rueben said he was disappointed in Scott’s statements Monday and said the governor never talked with the association before releasing the proposals.

“It doesn’t help the discourse to make mean-spirited accusations that are completely unfounded,” Rueben said.

Rueben said “we all want to see” health care become less expensive and added it is understandable that people are concerned about a wide disparity of charges for services. But he took issue with Scott’s characterization of price gouging.

“The fact is, there’s a big difference between high prices and so-called price gouging,” Rueben said.

Scott in recent months has repeatedly taken aim at costs and regulations in the hospital industry. In part, he created the Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding, which has held hearings across the state to delve into the operations of hospitals. Scott’s news release Monday came as members of the commission met in Tampa.

The Scott administration this summer also requested information from hospitals about Medicaid managed-care contracts with health insurers and said it would audit hospitals that didn’t adequately comply with the request. In addition, Scott has raised the possibility of eliminating what is known as the “certificate of need” process for hospitals. That longstanding regulatory process requires state approval of new or expanded hospitals.

The proposals outlined Monday include requiring all hospitals to post on their websites the prices and average payments received for products and services that they offer. Also, Scott called for patients to be able to pursue complaints of hospital “price gouging” with law-enforcement and regulatory agencies. Another move would require non-profit hospitals to post on their websites Internal Revenue Service documents that include detailed financial information.

“With our proposed reforms, patients who believe their hospital bills are unconscionably high will have the ability to ask for a third-party review of their charges,” Scott said. “We must address the high costs hospitals pass on to patients if we are going to make health care more affordable and accessible in Florida.”

–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida

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9 Responses for “Rick Scott, Who Made Millions as Hospital CEO, Now Faults Hospital Costs”

  1. Larry Bell says:

    Scott the hypocrite. 5th ammendment multiple times on lhe led the largest medicare fraud in history. Now he turns on his Co conspirators

  2. Tom Brown says:

    This concept of informed shopping for healthcare has been talked about for years, and endorsed by previous Florida governors. I thought it was supposed to be part of Obamacare, but apparently it got sidetracked. The current pricing system is actually no system, because there is no one-price-for-all. A few years ago, I helped an uninsured friend shop for an MRI test, and received quotes ranging from $500 to $2,000 plus — Halifax Hospital was among the highest. When my friend’s doctor used his influence to make a phone call on behalf of my friend, he was able to get the test at Bert Fish in New Smyrna for $300. When I needed surgery for cancer 6 years ago, I did not try to find a low price. My concern was to find the best surgeon and best hospital, as recommended by my urologist. I ended up at Shands even though my HMO at the time wanted to push me into Halifax. I don’t know what the final price was — no one ever sent me a bill — but I was happy to pay a $500 co-pay for quality.

  3. Lancer says:

    Rick Scott was the CEO of Columbia/ HCA and lead them to unprecedented growth. Some Columbia/ HCA facilities had faulty billing practices with medicare. They had an insider who was providing them the proper billing codes so that the services that had been PROVIDED to patients would be paid.

    Scott was never, repeat NEVER, the focus of a single investigation and never, repeat NEVER, charged with any wrong doing.

    During his tenure, Columbia/ HCA did everything possible to cut wasteful spending and become streamlined and more efficient at delivering treatment and providing the best care for patients at an affordable cost. There were far more hospitals to choose from than a Colombia/ HCA facility.

  4. RickG says:

    Rick Scott Medicare thief and embezzler of millions… Yet he is Governor…

  5. David S says:

    I will never go to a Halifax hospital again what a joke that was.

  6. Geezer says:

    If that ain’t the pot calling the kettle….. “black.”

  7. Samuel L. Bronkowitz says:

    Once again, Lancer takes a break from his morning pudding to address the evils of government and how the free market will solve all. In this case, it’s the actions of brave Sir Rick, who led Columbia/HCA to unprecedented growth while deftly defrauding medicare, resulting in over $2 billion coming out of the coffers at Columbia/HCA via fines and civil lawsuits. Brave Sir Rick, who resigned as CEO and chairman, netting almost $10 million in severance and stock worth over $350 million. But hey, the company was more streamlined and less wasteful, right?

  8. Geezer says:

    Defending Rick Scott is a common symptom of Stockholm or Helsinki Syndrome,
    or more likely: cerebral hypoxia, or a combination of both conditions.
    The aforementioned combination is referred to HypoTea-Partyism.
    There is no known efficacious therapeutic protocol to help these unfortunate folks.

    If you encounter a Tea Party member, just smile and ignore their bluster – be mindful
    that they are not well. It’s just the disease talking.

    In the words of Burt Bacharach: “Walk on By.”

  9. Sherry E says:

    Dear Geezer,

    You are so funny and so right! “Hyper Tea-Partyism”. . . priceless. . . since actual facts, logic, ethics, honesty, “the common good” is Kryptonite to them, just “Walk on By”.

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