As the TD Bank encourages us to embrace privatization in Canada’s health system, consider this: Forbes Magazine released its first-ever survey of the U.S.’s most profitable hospitals. The top 24 hospitals on the list make 25 cents or more for every $1 of patient revenue they bill for. Leading the list is 235-bed Flowers Medical Center in Dothan, Alabama, which takes in an astounding 53 cents in operating profit. Second is the Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, which rakes in 45 cents on the dollar.
The U.S. insurance industry is jumping all over the list, using it as evidence that hospitals are using local monopolies to overcharge patients. The insurance industry itself has been under fire with charges that health plan profits are driving rising costs.
Ten HCA hospitals make up Forbes’ Top 25 list, calculated based on operating income figures that hospitals must report to the U.S. Medicare program each year.
HCA paid a record $1.7 billion in fines last decade for Medicare and Medicaid fraud. According to www.thehill.com, the group’s CEO at the time the investigation began – but before the fines were handed down – was current Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott, a vocal opponent of healthcare reform who spearheaded Conservatives for Patients’ Rights.