Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rick Scott, GOP Nitwit for Florida governor

Florida has not prospered under 12 years of GOP rule. Florida now has one of the highest employment rates in the nation and the Republicans in the statehouse nearly destroyed the public school system in the state. Now a conservative nitwit with no political experience is running for governor. Scott has a very checkered past in the health care industry.

Columbia/HCA fraud cases

Numerous New York Times stories, beginning in 1996, began scrutinizing Columbia/HCA's business and Medicare billing practices. These culminated in the company being raided by Federal agents searching for documents and eventually the ousting of Scott by his fellow board directors.

Among the crimes uncovered were doctors being offered financial incentives to bring in patients, falsifying diagnostic codes to increase reimbursements from Medicare and other government programs, and billing the government for unnecessary lab tests, though Scott personally was never charged with any wrongdoing.

HCA wound up pleading guilty to more than a dozen criminal and civil charges and paying fines totaling $1.7 billion. In 1999, Columbia/HCA changed its name back to HCA, Inc.

In 2001, HCA reached a plea agreement with the U.S. government that avoided criminal charges against the company and included $95 million in fines. In late 2002, HCA agreed to pay the U.S. government $631 million, plus interest, and pay $17.5 million to state Medicaid agencies, in addition to $250 million paid up to that point to resolve outstanding Medicare expense claims.

In all, civil law suits cost HCA more than $1.7 billion to settle, including more than $500 million paid in 2003 to two whistleblowers.

Venture capitalist or venture predator

After his forced departure from Columbia/HCA in 1997, Scott launched Richard L. Scott Investments, based in Naples, Florida , which has stakes in health care, manufacturing and technology companies.

Solantic, based in in Jacksonville, Florida, was co-founded in 2001 by Scott and Karen Bowling, a former television anchor whom Scott met after Columbia bought what is now Memorial Hospital Jacksonville in 1995.

Solantic opened its first urgent care center in 2002. It provides urgent care services, immunizations, physicals, drug screening, and care for injured workers. The corporation attracts patients who do not have insurance, cannot get appointments with their primary care physicians, or do not have primary care physicians.

Solantic is intended to be an alternative to the emergency room care that these types of patients often seek, or for not seeing a doctor at all.
In 2006, Scott said that his plans for Solantic were to establish a national brand of medical clinics.

Solantic has been the target of numerous employment discrimination suits, including one that settled with 7 plaintiffs for an undisclosed sum on May 23, 2007. These suits allegedly stem from a Scott directed policy to not hire elderly or overweight applicants, preferring 'mainstream' candidates.

In early May 2009, in an ad broadcast in the Washington D.C. area and in Scott's home town of Naples, Florida, a group called Health Care for America Now said of Scott:

He and his insurance-company friends make millions from the broken system we have now.

Some conservative health-care policy experts also questioned Scott's involvement on grounds that Obama's health-care plan had yet to be made public, or on grounds that the insurance industry is willing to consider a compromise which would allow greater government involvement in health care.

Other conservative groups have been more welcoming; the director of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance indicated a willingness to work with Scott saying: "He's bringing a lot of money to the table."

The group was widely criticized by Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman in the New York Times for pretending to be a grassroots movement of citizens. when in actuality the citizens were bussed in to congressperson's local meetings and the group was being led by Scott.

source: Wikipedia

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