POLICY: News just in…..Bill Frist is connected to a hospital chain

OK, so its not really news, but Senate Majority leader Bill Frist has played the gallant heart surgeon for a very long time, and has had clear sailing for many years despite the fact that HCA (or as it was known Columbia/HCA) has both had a disreputable past, and continues to make money off Medicare. Given his role in health care in the Senate the fact that his father founded the company, his brother is Chairman and he owns millions of $$ of its stock, seems to have gone completely unnoticed.

So why is it coming up now? Malpractice is the answer. HCA owns a malpractice insurer, which will benefit (as will HCA) if malpractice awards are limited. A pro-lawyer consumer group has accused Frist of not being as disinterested as he claims to be in HCA’s dealings. It’s odd that it’s this little piece of Frist’s HCA dealings which is proving controversial when last December he helped shepherd the Medicare bill through the Senate that will greatly improve the Medicare funding stream for all hospitals, including of course the nation’s largest hospital chain — HCA.

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