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Little is clear-cut on HCA's high rates of lucrative heart procedures

Tampa Bay Times, August 21, 2012

In response to the New York Times story, officials at the Nashville-based HCA said that experts often disagree on when a patient should get a stent. They also noted that their hospitals are performing fewer of the procedures than in years past. But insurance billing records indicate the procedures continue to be popular with Florida's for-profit hospitals and particularly HCA. State data show that for-profit hospitals as a group do nearly 50 percent more catheterizations and one-third more angioplasties than nonprofit hospitals on a per-bed basis. HCA, which accounts for about half the state's for-profit hospitals reporting invasive cardiac procedures, performed them at even higher rates than their peers.