Health Management Associates, a for-profit chain of hospitals headquartered in Florida, is under fire for allegedly using elaborate schemes to overbill Medicare and Medicaid clients. The U.S. Justice Department recently joined eight lawsuits filed by company whistleblowers in six states.
The whistleblowers have described a strategy to admit more patients into the hospitals, regardless of the patients’ actual condition. Emergency room doctors were given targets to admit at least half of all patients over 65 years old that came into the emergency room. These goals were buffeted with scorecards posted on the wall. Doctors who made the target were colored green, those near were yellow, and doctors not even close were assigned the color red.