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Ex-employees say Prime hospitals stretch to keep patients

California Watch, July 25, 2011

Deciding when a patient is stable enough to leave a hospital is difficult for any doctor, but some former employees of Prime Healthcare Services say the chain has gone to extreme lengths to keep patients at their medical facilities. Court testimony shows that Panch Jeyakumar, MD, former medical director at Prime's Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville, has accused the chain's founder and board chairman, Prem Reddy, MD, of overstating one patient's level of illness in "an economic decision." Jeyakumar testified that he and two other physicians, including a cardiologist, believed that one patient who came to Desert Valley had endured a fainting spell. But Reddy, who had practiced as a cardiologist, got involved in the case and wrote on a patient medical record: "post cardiac arrest – sudden death."