Man, I've never seen as many hideously bad Republican candidates as I have this year. And they don't come any worse than Rick Scott, who made a pile of money by treating the health care industry as if it were McDonald's or WalMart--and patient care be damned. Think Progress has the goods on this bastard right here: Here's how Scott made his huge fortune:
Indeed, through an aggressive strategy of rapid acquisitions and consolidation, Scott turned Columbia/HCA into one of the largest health care companies in the world. Forbes magazine noted Scott ruthlessly bought “hospitals by the bucketful and promised to squeeze blood from each one.” HCA/Columbia executives saw health care as any other commodity. “This industry’s not any different than an airline industry or a ball bearing industry,” said David T. Vandewater, Columbia’s chief operating officer. “You run at 40 percent of capacity or at 60 percent of capacity you’re not getting the maximum value out of your assets.”
Under Scott’s leadership, Columbia/HCA pled guilty to an massive array of fraud charges — which resulted in a fraud settlement of $1.7 billion dollars, the largest in U.S history. Columbia/HCA systematically defrauded taxpayers, charging Medicare $15,000 for Tiffany pitchers and other luxury goods, “exaggerating the seriousness of the illnesses they were treating,” and engineering a program where doctors were granted partnerships in hospitals as a kickback for referring patients. In 1997, “disaster struck in the form of an FBI raid.” In July of that year, “federal agents swarmed Columbia/HCA hospitals and offices in five states. Within weeks, three executives were indicted on charges of Medicare fraud, and the board had ousted Scott.” Scott left in disgrace, but not before walking away with “a $9.88 million severance package, along with 10 million shares of stock worth up to $300 million at the time.”
During Scott’s tenure at Columbia/HCA, his cost cutting methods threatened patient care and safety:
– Susan Marks, a technician at one of Scott’s hospitals, was forced to monitor 72 heart monitors by herself. Marks explained, “I have to. I’ve been told you either do it, or there’s the door.” [ABC News, 9/26/97]
– Scott downsized nursing staffs, created conditions where “babies were attended as infrequently as every three hours. Once, the only nurse caring for seven ill infants was so busy she failed to hear an alarm when a baby stopped breathing. A parent dashed to the baby and stimulated breathing, the state report said.” [New York Times, 5/11/97]
– Hospital workers in Florida complained, “gloves come in only one size, and rip easily.” In addition, California employees protested “filthy conditions,” and being “stretched to the limit” as Scott’s company slashed “the ratio of nurses to patients.” [Money Driven Medicine, pg. 119]
And this is who the Tea Party fanatics who run the Republican Party think should be governor of Florida. Scott is simply a CRIMINAL who got away with it, a moral degenerate who made his money by neglecting the well-being of sick and suffering people. What can be done about this?
CONTRIBUTE TO DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA ALEX SINK. You can contribute to the Sink Campaign right here.
Let's Join Together, and Sink Rick Scott Forever!