Integris Health, an Oklahoma City-based health system, said in a statement Monday that claims made in a “60 Minutes” story about Health Management Associates did not affect their relationship with the national health care company.
Health Management Associates, which partners with 70 hospitals in 15 states, was the focus of a “60 Minutes” story that aired Sunday, alleging the management group pressured doctors to over-admit emergency room patients to increase revenue.
Earlier this year, Health Management Associates began managing Integris Health's regional hospitals in Blackwell, Clinton, Madill, Pryor and Seminole.
The hospitals continue to carry the Integris name.
“The concerns expressed in the ‘60 Minutes' story predate our partnership, although we were made aware of the claims,” according to the statement from Integris Health. “HMA has been transparent with us and insists there is no basis for the allegations. Our focus is always to provide the highest quality care to our patients. We hold our partners to the same high standards.”
Health Management Associates also has a long-term lease with Midwest Regional Medical Center in Midwest City. The company also has a joint agreement with physician investors to operate the Medical Center of Southeast Oklahoma in Durant.
Reporters from “60 Minutes” spent more than a year investigating claims made against Health Management Associates, talking to more than 100 current and former employees.
Dr. Cliff Cloonan, a former emergency room doctor at one of the company's Pennsylvania hospitals, told “60 Minutes” that he and others were pressured to admit people who were not sick enough to be admitted.
He said they were pushed to keep the ER admittance rate at 20 percent.
“There's no way that you can do that and not have it be fraudulent because you're not admitting on the basis of medical requirements,” Cloonan said during the interview.
Health Management Associates said in a statement that “60 Minutes” did not find issues with quality of care in their hospitals.
“It was also notable that ‘60 Minutes' failed to identify a single patient who had been inappropriately admitted from any of the company's emergency rooms, including by the physicians interviewed,” the company's statement read.