Prime Healthcare's Response to California Watch Article

Prime Healthcare's Response To California Watch Article, February 6, 2013

Feb, 7, 2013 - Ontario, CA. - This is the latest chapter in SEIU-UHW's vicious and repeatedly discredited anti-corporate campaign, promoted by its political surrogates and rehashed by a complicit media organization, against Prime Healthcare.

The accusations regarding Prime Healthcare include SEIU's false allegations, repeated by California Watch and others, concerning the diagnosis and coding of septicemia, malnutrition, and other medical conditions at Prime Healthcare hospitals.

Hospitals and health systems are routinely audited and reviewed by federal and state agencies when complaints, regardless of merit, are filed. On June 15, 2012, Prime Healthcare received a request from the Department of Justice (DOJ) for records concerning these same allegations by SEIU. Please note that the DOJ has conducted thousands of these audits every year, and most find no issues.

These are the same allegations that were reviewed by the California Department of Public Health, the Joint Commission, the largest healthcare accreditation organization, and the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, the second largest healthcare accreditation organization – all of which found no evidence supporting SEIU's allegations.

In addition, Health Services Advisory Group, a Medicare contracted quality improvement organization, Palmetto GBA, a Medicare administrative contractor, and Health Data Insights, a Medicare recovery audit contractor, continue to routinely review medical records on an ongoing basis for the appropriateness of coding and billing, medical necessity of care provided, including hospitalizations, and other quality measures.

Prime Healthcare believes that any thorough scrutiny, as was done earlier, will show that all of its hospitals are committed to following all state and federal laws and regulations.

On January 11, 2012, Shasta Regional Medical Center received notice from the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health & Human Services (OCR) that the OCR had initiated a compliance review related to allegations that Shasta Regional Medical Center (SRMC) impermissibly disclosed protected health information about a patient in violation of HIPPA. This was after the patient had already disclosed the information in the newspaper, on TV and on the Internet. SRMC denies these allegations. While OCR has not yet issued its findings, the hospital is appealing negative findings by CDPH. In fact, it appears that the daughter of the patient who reportedly complained about her diagnosis of malnutrition did so at SEIU's behest as part of the union's campaign against Prime.

The California Watch story based on this was so inaccurate and misleading the local newspaper, the Record Searchlight, which covers the Shasta region refused to run it.

In addition to these already discredited allegations, California Watch also excerpted five minutes of a two-hour presentation that Dr. Prem Reddy, chairman and CEO of Prime Healthcare, gave to a hospital in Weslaco, Texas.

The Prime Healthcare Foundation, a non-profit 501(c) 3 public charity founded and funded by Dr. Reddy and his family, acquired a non-profit hospital, Knapp Medical Center (KMC), in Weslaco, Texas. Dr. Reddy met with KMC physicians for approximately two hours discussing complex clinical information involving measurement of provider quality metrics, value based reimbursement for physicians and hospitals, the importance of appropriate and complete clinical documentation and other clinical issues pertaining to the physicians in attendance at the meeting. An SEIU operative, colluding with someone who attended this meeting, apparently obtained an audiotape of the meeting.

California Watch has published statements from the meeting that, when taken out of context of Dr. Reddy's entire presentation, are false and misleading.

Another California Watch story accused the Foundation and the Dr. Prem Reddy Family Foundation of tax fraud. Recent IRS audits found no evidence of improprieties in both the foundations. Prime Healthcare has asked for a retraction of the story.

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