Prime Healthcare Responds to Union's (SEIU) Smear Campaign

Oct 12, 2010, 16:50 ET from Prime Healthcare

ONTARIO, Calif., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of its campaign to extort concessions from Prime Healthcare in contract negotiations at its Centinela Hospital Medical Center and to coerce Prime Healthcare into executing a "neutrality agreement" for all of its hospitals so that employees lose the right to intelligently choose whether to join a union, the SEIU has distributed a faulty analysis that suggests high septicemia rates at Prime Healthcare hospitals are the result of a serious health problem or multi-million dollar Medicare fraud and encouraged politicians supported by the SEIU to request that federal and state agencies investigate Prime Healthcare.  Unfortunately, the SEIU's "analysis" omits several key facts which demonstrate that the septicemia rates at Prime Healthcare hospitals are not a serious health problem or a multi-million dollar Medicare fraud, but instead are the result of Prime Healthcare hospitals seeing sicker patients as a result of their emphasis on emergency departments, strict compliance with Medicare coding guidelines, and the early detection and treatment of septicemia so as to improve patient care outcomes.  



Critical facts missing from the SEIU's "analysis" include:

  • By all objective measures, Prime Healthcare hospitals provide excellent patient care.  Prime Healthcare was the only for-profit health system to be recognized as a Top 10 Health System in the Nation by Thomson Reuters and several of its hospitals, including Desert Valley Hospital, West Anaheim Medical Center, and Montclair Hospital Medical Center, have been ranked among the Top 100 Hospitals in the Nation by Thomson Reuters.  Thomson Reuters has concluded that if all Medicare beneficiaries received care like they do at Thomson Reuters' Top 10 Health Systems and Top 100 Hospitals (like Prime Healthcare hospitals), more than 47,000 patients would survive each year and nearly 92,000 patient complications would be avoided annually.  At the same time, Chino Valley Medical Center, Centinela Hospital Medical Center, Desert Valley Hospital, and Garden Grove Hospital & Medical Center received HealthGrades 2010 Emergency Medicine Excellence Award™ which places these hospitals among the Top 5% of all hospitals for outstanding emergency medicine services, and 10 of Prime Healthcare's hospitals received 5 out of 5 stars in HealthGrades 2010 Quality Report for Sepsis.
  • Prime Healthcare operates a model which emphasizes emergency departments and emergency admissions as opposed to elective admissions which results in, among other things, substantially sicker patients being seen at Prime Healthcare hospitals as compared to other area hospitals and Prime Healthcare hospitals providing more charity care per adjusted patient day than any other hospital system in California.  As Prime Healthcare's emergency departments see sicker patients, the chances of patients presenting with sepsis or early sepsis increase.  This is an especially important fact as the data relied upon by the SEIU focuses on the patient's condition upon presentation to the emergency department, not conditions acquired at the hospital.
  • Prime Healthcare's strict compliance with Medicare coding guidelines results in higher septicemia rates as the coding guidelines require that septicemia must be sequenced as the principal diagnosis even when there are other conditions such as aspiration pneumonia, respiratory failure, etc., that reimburse higher rates than septicemia. In other words, a principal diagnosis of septicemia results in lower reimbursement in several cases.
  • Prime Healthcare, as recommended by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and others, has embarked upon a campaign designed to ensure the early detection and treatment of sepsis given the high mortality rates associated with sepsis not being diagnosed as early as possible.  While these campaigns of early detection has resulted in better patient care outcomes and substantially lower mortality rates as compared to other hospitals, it has also resulted in higher septicemia rates.  Please read more about the importance early detection and treatment of sepsis at;;
  • Prime Healthcare hospitals, like all other hospitals across the United States, have been subject to various audits including that of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors (RAC Audits), Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG), the Joint Commission, Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) and various other federal and state agencies and these audits have resulted in no adverse findings to date. In fact, an unannounced survey in 2008 by the Joint Commission at Centinela Hospital Medical Center on similar complaints of infection control, possibly by SEIU, resulted in no adverse findings.

Prime Healthcare remains committed to its mission of providing comprehensive, quality healthcare in a compassionate, convenient and cost-effective manner. It acquires financially distressed hospitals that are in bankruptcy or near bankruptcy and turns them into successful and high quality community health care assets.  Prime Healthcare is confident that federal and state agencies will recognize the faulty nature of SEIU's analysis after they have had the opportunity to review and consider all of the facts.  Indeed, Congressman Pete Stark has recognized "the unique patient population at Prime-operated hospitals, patterns of reimbursement around sepsis diagnoses, and [Prime's] emphasis on early detection while maintaining strict compliance with coding guidelines" after having the opportunity to review the facts presented by Prime Healthcare.

About Prime Healthcare Services

Prime Healthcare Services, Ontario, Calif., is a progressive, innovative and rapidly expanding hospital management company in Southern California. The mission of PHS is to provide comprehensive quality healthcare in a compassionate, convenient and cost-effective manner. With more than 8,000 employees, PHS, by and through its affiliates, currently owns and operates thirteen acute care hospitals: Centinela Hospital Medical in Inglewood (370-beds), Chino Valley Medical Center in Chino (126-beds), Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville (83-beds), Encino Hospital Medical Center in Encino(151-beds), Garden Grove Hospital Medical Center in Garden Grove (167-beds), Huntington Beach Hospital in Huntington Beach (131-beds), La Palma Intercommunity Hospital in La Palma (141-beds), Montclair Hospital Medical Center in Montclair (102-beds), Paradise Valley Hospital in National City (301-beds), San Dimas Community Hospital in San Dimas (93-beds), Shasta Regional Medical Center (246-beds), Sherman Oaks Hospital in Sherman Oaks (153-beds), and West Anaheim Medical Center in Anaheim (219-beds) in California. For more information, please visit

SOURCE Prime Healthcare