US hospital operator HMA's shares slump after 60 Minutes report

Mon Dec 3, 2012 11:15am EST

Dec 3 (Reuters) - Shares of Health Management Associates Inc fell about 5 percent on Monday after the television news program 60 Minutes aired a story describing aggressive patient admissions policies allegedly pursued at the company's U.S. hospitals.

The story included interviews with several former employees of the hospital chain who said they were pressured to meet quotas for admitting patients.

HMA Senior Vice President Alan Levine told 60 Minutes the allegations were "absolutely wrong". An HMA spokesperson was not immediately available Monday.

Among those interviewed for the television show was a former director of compliance for HMA, Paul Meyer, who sued the company for wrongful termination. Meyer accused the company of committing Medicare fraud by billing the government for hospital stays that did not meet government standards for admission or reimbursement.

HMA said it hired an outside law firm to investigate Meyer's allegations, but it found no evidence to support an allegation of fraud.

HMA shares fell 40 cents, or 5.09 percent, to $7.55 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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