HCA is the most profitable health system in Virginia, with their hospitals racking up $2.6 billion in revenue and $457 million in profits in 2019 alone. Their 18% profit margins are almost three times higher than the median profit margin of hospitals in the state. These profits have been secured, in part, by cost-cutting measures that threaten patient care.
Cutting Costs at the Expense of Patient Care
HCA's implementation of cost cutting measures to increase their profit line has resulted in lagging standards inside their hospitals.
Higher staffing levels between healthcare workers and patients are consistently associated with improved patient care, yet staffing levels at HCA’s facilities are significantly lower than average in Virginia. In 2019, HCA had 28% less staff than the Virginia average.
HCA has over 500 behavioral health beds throughout the state. Inspection reports from CMS and the DBHDS have identified disturbing incidents at HCA behavioral health units and facilities, including patient injury due to excessive use of force, lack of training, and excessive use of chemical restraints.
HCA hospitals in Virginia have been cited for infection control issues and sanitation violations, including failing to properly clean operating rooms between patient procedures and foul conditions including rodent droppings and mold in the kitchen where patient food was prepared.
Surprise Billing and High Charges is Hurting Virginia Patients
HCA’s facilities in Virginia have exceptionally high charge-to-cost ratios (CCRs). In 2019, HCA’s Virginia average CCR was 1,014%, more than double the state average. Two of HCA’s Richmond-area facilities, Chippenham and John Randolph, stand out as having the highest CCRs in the state.
HCA's high charges are driving up costs for HCA patients. Self-pay patients are directly impacted by high charges.
An HCA Richmond patient was left with over $60,000 in debt after a procedure, despite having been approved by his coverage for $50,000, which should have been enough based on the median prices of hospitals in the area. HCA had the highest charge of any hospital in Central Virginia for his procedure.
Even federal legislation like the No Surprises Act will not be enough to protect Virginia patients from HCA's high charges, since the legislation relies on the arbitration model for our network bills which will likely eventually lead to higher insurance premiums and deductibles.