Prime Healthcare continues its fight with California Watch, (founded by the Center for Investigative Reporting), which appears to smell blood when it comes to the fast growing healthcare management company. Its obsession with Prime is being fueled by the powerful SEIU organization which apparently takes no prisoners if your company fails to kowtow to its demands.
The latest attacks once again demonstrate, that simply by spinning the facts, an over zealous reporter can tarnish a company’s reputation even when the facts refute that reporter’s claims.
A recent posting on the California Watch website — which in turn is disseminated through the internet— has relied on sketchy comparisons in another attempt to smear Prime Healthcare. It compares certain billing practices at Kernan Hospital in Maryland, alleged (but not proven) in United States v. Kernan Hospital, to the billing practices of Prime Healthcare’s.
Aside from the fact that Kernan Hospital has put in place its own computer system while Prime Healthcare’s hospitals utilize coding software developed by 3M, which is widely used across the United States and accepted by Medicare, the reporter also fails to point out that billing practices of Maryland hospitals rely on a different reimbursement methodology system than utilized in California. In addition, Prime Healthcare’s hospitals utilize practices that are consistent with the principles adopted by the American Health Information Management Association including those related to physician queries. In short, there is no logical basis for any claim that the billing practices of Kernan Hospital parallel Prime Healthcare’s billing practices.
Following earlier erroneous claims by California Watch regarding questionable coding or diagnosis of septicemia or malnutrition, the two prestigious national Medicare accreditation agencies, the Joint Commission and Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, found no deficiencies. Similarly, the California Department of Public Health found no deficiencies as to coding or diagnosis of septicemia or malnutrition. Also, Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG), a Medicare contracted agency that reviews DRG coding, has reviewed the medical records at Prime operated Shasta Regional Medical Center and agreed with the appropriateness of the diagnosis of Kwashiorkor. Another Medicare contracted review agency, Health Data Insights (RAC), which is entrusted with the responsibility of reviewing Medicare DRG coding for all hospitals, found no deficiencies concerning Kwashiorkor at Prime Healthcare hospitals.
It is unfortunate that Prime’s reputation continues to be maligned by California Watch and one can only assume that SEIU has reached its odorous arm into the hallowed field of independent journalism.