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Carlisle Regional Medical Center owner pre-empts '60 Minutes' segment

By , - Last modified: November 30, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Health Management Associates made a pre-emptive call to investors this morning in advance of a “60 Minutes” segment scheduled to air on CBS Sunday that is likely to focus on Carlisle Regional Medical Center.

HMA executives said they have not seen the segment and do not know what it contains but believe it may wrongly portray HMA in a negative light.

In the call, which lasted nearly an hour, HMA executives focused on emergency room admissions. They said emergency room admissions data across HMA reflect no significant changes and are in line with industry norms.

However, HMA said, a recent lawsuit of which Lancaster General Health is part underscores the tension all hospitals currently face in determining whether patients should be admitted or merely kept for observation. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is increasingly questioning admissions, HMA said, but observations place much more cost on patients and may lead to more patients subsequently returning to emergency rooms.

As for CRMC specifically, executives said that there was a sudden growth in emergency room visits about August 2011 that the staffing wasn't prepared for. HMA said those issues were addressed even before CRMC was cited for the problem and that after extensive analysis they see no cause for concern in CRMC's admissions.

The executives also avowed pride in CRMC, saying that it was ranked as a top hospital in America by The Joint Commission last year and that it recruited more than 40 new physicians to the community in recent years.

HMA, which is based in Florida and trades on the NYSE under the ticker symbol HMA, also owns Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center and Lancaster Regional Medical Center.

A webcast of the HMA call, including data slides, is available here.

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