The paper examined insurance billing records and found Florida’s for-profit hospitals, as a group, perform nearly 50 percent more catheterizations and one-third more angioplasties than nonprofit hospitals on a per bed basis. HCA, which accounts for about half of the state’s for-profit hospitals that report invasive cardiac procedures, did more of them on average than other Florida for-profit facilities.
The story raised good questions: Are hospitals doing these procedures because patients demand them—patients who would rather undergo invasive procedures than try medicine, diet, and exercise? Are patients attracted via the heavy advertising that hospitals use to reel in patients for more profitable treatments? These go to a larger ongoing story—the mix of money and medicine, and we hope the Tampa Bay Times and others will stay on the beat.