HCA has been forced to reconcile with their record on patient care, safety, and worker rights in the past week, as their latest expansion effort in a small town in Georgia became an unexpected lightning rod for major controversy.
"SEIU, the largest union of healthcare workers in the U.S., is urging the Georgia attorney general to reject HCA Healthcare's proposed acquisition of a rural Georgia hospital.
Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare and Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia, Ga., signed a letter of intent for the transaction in October 2019. A public meeting on the sale is slated for March 25. Under the deal, which needs approval from the attorney general, HCA would acquire Meadows Regional for $73 million.
In written testimony ahead of the public meeting, Chris Baumann, director of SEIU's Georgia affiliate, argued that the proposed sale price is less than the fair market value of the hospital and that sufficient safeguards have not been included in the terms of the deal to ensure HCA does not cut services at the facility.
Mr. Baumann also said that HCA failed to provide any enforceable commitment to providing charity care for Georgia residents and claims the for-profit hospital operator has a track record of not keeping its promises when it buys hospitals."
HCA Haunted by Broken Promises to Patients
HCA’s 2019 acquisition of Mission Health in North Carolina has been marred with broken promises to patients, workers, and the community. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein sent a letter to HCA in 2020 outlining major concerns around what he described as “harrowing” quality of care issues. He also noted concerns with changes to charity care for vulnerable patients and the discontinuation of critical emergency services, including for sexual assault victims.
HCA Workers Offer Testimony: "We Shouldn’t Believe That HCA Will Come Through on Their Promises"
Frontline HCA workers from across America joined the Georgia Attorney General's hearing regarding HCA's attempt to purchase Meadows Regional Medical Center in Vidalia, Georgia, on Thursday, March 25, pointing to the broken promises in HCA's past.
“We shouldn’t believe that HCA will come through on their promises to keep the hospital the same,” said frontline HCA healthcare worker Jody Domineck, who attended the hearing virtually. “The purchase agreement lets them break their promises because of any ‘force majeure’ like a pandemic. HCA has proposed employees pay more for insurance, while it profits and its staff is on the frontline. I implore you to consider the majority of the staff employed by the hospital. Consider that this will affect the majority of the staff. Equipment is important, but without appropriate staffing patient safety and care suffers.”
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