Prime has highest malnutrition claims in nation, union says

Medicare data analyzed by the Service Employees International Union concludes that hospitals owned by California-based Prime Healthcare Services have the highest rate of treatment for malnourished elderly patients in the nation, reports Payers & Providers.

The claim by the SEIU comes several months after it found that the for-profit hospital chain also had the highest rates of treating Medicare patients for septicemia, prompting investigations from both federal and state regulators for potential billing fraud.

According to the data, which the SEIU cross-checked against patient discharge data supplied by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, 36 percent of the Medicare patients admitted to Huntington Beach Hospital were treated for malnutrition, the highest rate in the nation. The second highest rate of 34 percent were treated at another Prime property, Montclair Hospital Medical Center.

Ten of Prime's 13 hospitals were among the top 40 hospitals in the nation for treating malnourished Medicare patients. Prime's overall treatment rate of nearly 22 percent was four times higher than the average nationwide rate of 5.7 percent.

Prime denied the allegations, claiming the SEIU had manipulated the data. It also claimed it sees malnutrition in up to 80 percent of the senior patients admitted to its hospitals.

For more:
- read the Payers & Providers article (.pdf)
- read the Prime Healthcare press release