Aaron Klein keeps up his long series of dubious hit pieces on the Obama administration in a Nov. 29 article, in which he attacks Marilyn Tavenner, President Obama's nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, for her longtime employment at the hospital conglomerate HCA:
Tavenner is a 31-year veteran of HCA. She began with the company in 1981 as a nursing supervisor at Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond, Va. After serving in a number of supervisory positions, she became CEO of the hospital in 1993.
In 1996, Tavenner became president of HCA's Richmond Division and in 2001 was appointed the company's Central Atlantic Division president.
In 2004, Tavenner was promoted to group president for HCA's Outpatient Services.
In settlements reached in 2000 and 2002, HCA pleaded guilty to 14 felonies. The company reportedly admitted to overcharging the government by claiming marketing costs as reimbursable; striking illegal deals with home care agencies; and filing false data about the use of hospital space.
HCA also reportedly admitted to defrauding Medicare by billing the agency and other health programs using exaggerated diagnoses and by filing false cost reports.
HCA agreed in 2002 to pay the U.S. government $631 million, plus interest, and pay $17.5 million to state Medicaid agencies, in addition to $250 million paid up to that point to resolve outstanding Medicare expense claims.
First, Klein offers no evidence whatsoever that Tavenner was ever implicated in any of those HCA scandals.
Second, Klein makes no mention of who was the CEO of HCA at the time those settlements over Medicare fraud were reached -- Rick Scott, currently the Republican governor of Florida.