DENVER, Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- High prices, a lack of safe staffing levels, and aggressive collection practices against Denver area patients who can't afford "surprise" medical bills are all key themes of a new public information campaign launched this week.
The campaign centers on the actions of executives from Denver area HealthONE hospitals, which is owned by Nashville-based for-profit HCA Healthcare. It comes on the heels of recent reports by the Denver Post that low staffing levels at HealthONE hospitals in metro Denver contributed to a patient's death and preventable harm to others.
Efforts to raise public awareness in the Denver market about these issues will include a website (http://www.HealthONEFailures.com), TV advertisements on CNN, ESPN, MSNBC and other top-rated channels, social media advertisements, and more.
The public information campaign is being funded by the nation's largest organization of professional healthcare workers, known as SEIU. Those workers are decrying patterns within the HealthONE system of hospital executives purveying high prices, low staffing, and aggressive collection practices toward HealthONE/HCA patients.
The Denver market is a cash cow for HealthONE and HCA, who reported hundreds of millions in profits at their Denver area hospital in 2018 according to the most recently available Medicare Cost Report data. Meanwhile, HCA and HealthONE also contributed significant amounts to lobbying efforts against affordable healthcare for Colorado residents.
"We feel morally obligated to make people aware about HCA Healthcare HealthONE executives continuing these bad practices amidst the COVID-19 pandemic," said Ron Ruggiero, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 105, which represents healthcare industry workers in Colorado. "Especially given the large profits this company makes in the Denver area market, Colorado patients and healthcare workers should be prioritized by HealthONE and HCA and right now, that's not happening. We've seen similar patterns by HCA hospitals across the country and it is a disturbing trend of greed. We intend to let the public know that we believe HealthONE and HCA have been aggressively putting profits over patients. Lives are at stake and their federal bailout money should be used to improve staffing and to provide adequate PPE, not just to drive up profits."
HCA, the largest hospital chain in America, operates numerous for-profit Denver area hospitals and emergency rooms under the HealthONE brand, including Rose Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center, Swedish Belmar ER, Swedish Southwest ER, Centennial Medical Plaza, Central Park (Stapleton) ER, North Suburban Medical Center, Northeast ER, Northwest ER, Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Sky Ridge, Saddle Rock ER, Sky Ridge Medical Center, Sky Ridge South Parker ER, Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital, and the Medical Center of Aurora.
It also owns the debt collection firm Medicredit, which has blitzed Colorado patients with aggressive collection lawsuits. HCA Healthcare, the largest for-profit hospital corporation in the country and the parent company of HealthONE, was recently reported to have prices that were 275.8% times greater than Medicare rates, on average.
In June, HCA made waves for threatening to pink slip thousands of frontline healthcare workers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, even though it has made hundreds of millions in profits.
HCA is also facing a lawsuit for allegedly "recklessly" facilitating COVID-19 spread: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/lawsuit-accuses-nations-largest-hospital-firm-of-not-protecting-workers-from-covid-19/2020/08/20/10c9f74e-e31f-11ea-b69b-64f7b0477ed4_story.html
HCA, a Fortune 100 company based in Nashville, TN, has 280,000 employees, 185 hospitals, and 2,000 sites of care (i.e. surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, physician clinics) in 21 US states and the United Kingdom.
HealthONE Failures is a project of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare. More than one million healthcare workers across hospitals, in home care and in nursing homes, are united in SEIU, the nation's largest union of healthcare workers. SEIU is an organization of nearly 2 million members united to create better communities while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy.
SOURCE SEIU Healthcare