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CA inspectors drop Prime citations, but forward findings for fraud probe

California Watch, October 6, 2011

The California Department of Public Health has dismissed findings against Prime Healthcare Services over its documentation of bloodstream infections, saying the department lacked evidence to cite hospitals over incomplete or inaccurate medical records. But in a six-page analysis of the decision to rescind the findings, the department said it had not ruled out possible fraud as an explanation for high rates of septicemia. Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director of the Department of Public Health, said findings of the February septicemia inspections and just-completed malnutrition reports have been forwarded to Medi-Cal auditors and the federal Health and Human Services Department's Office of Inspector General. "It's their responsibility to look at billing issues," Billingsley said in an interview. "That is specifically what they do." Prime Healthcare, a 14-hospital chain based in Ontario, CA, declared the decision a victory.