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Buyer Of Kansas Hospitals Faces Two Federal Investigations

The would-be buyer of Providence Medical Center in KCK and Saint John’s
Hospital in Leavenworth faces two ongoing federal investigations. Prime
Healthcare plans to buy the hospitals from SCL Health System for an
undisclosed amount.

The Health and Human Services Department is looking into a patient privacy
dispute, and the Justice Department has subpoenaed documents in a Medicare
fraud inquiry.
A Prime spokesman calls the investigations part of the routine audits and
reviews health systems undergo. An SCL Health System spokesman says the
issues are isolated to the California market.
Prime employees allege that Prime funnels patients through its emergency
room, turns away those without insurance while admitting those with the best
insurance, and pushes doctors for diagnoses that bring higher Medicare
payments, called upcoding.
Prime disputes all the claims against it.


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