News-Press, May 24, 2011

The last remnant of HCA-owned hospitals in Lee County Florida will disappear next month as Gulf Coast Medical Center shifts its patient billing services to owner Lee Memorial Health System. An HCA-contracted vendor in Tampa has handled the hospital's billing since the system acquired Gulf Coast and the now-leveled Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center in a $525 million deal in 2006. The change comes as the hospital becomes the first in the system to go fully online with a new electronic medical record-keeping, the next big phase of a $70 million, multiyear effort to better link system patients and facilities. The new arrangement ends a convoluted process that had one large health care organization, Nashville-based HCA, effectively running day-to-day billing for a segment of another large healthcare organization, Lee Memorial Health System

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