INSTITUTE INDEX: Well-connected health care fraudster faces fresh scrutiny

Date on which HCA, the Nashville, Tenn.-based health care corporation, disclosed that the Department of Justice was investigating it for performing medically unnecessary heart procedures: 8/6/2012

Number of HCA hospitals targeted in the probe, most of them in Florida: 10

Number of for-profit hospitals that HCA controls nationwide: 163

Percent of all inpatient care delivered in the U.S. today provided by HCA facilities: 4 to 5

Year in which the family of former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), also a physician, founded the company: 1968

Year in which HCA merged with Columbia Healthcare Corp., a hospital group led by Rick Scott, now Florida's Republican governor: 1994

Year in which Scott, then serving as the merged company's chair and CEO, was pressured by the company's board to resign amid controversy over Medicare billing practices: 1997

Year in which HCA settled a fraud case with the U.S. government for systematically overcharging Medicare and other federal health care programs: 2003

Amount of that settlement: $1.7 billion

Rank of that settlement among the largest health care fraud cases in U.S. history: 1

Number of felonies to which the HCA corporation pleaded guilty in that case: 14

In a separate settlement with the government, amount HCA agreed to pay to resolve allegations that one of its hospitals in Georgia paid illegal kickbacks for the referral of diabetes patients: $1.5 million

In yet another settlement, amount HCA agreed to pay state Medicaid programs for losses related to its fraudulent billings: $17.5 million

Year in which three private equity firms -- including Bain Capital, co-founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- bought HCA: 2006

Year in which HCA introduced a new system of seeking payment for emergency care, which resulted in its patients appearing much sicker and its Medicare reimbursements surging -- and leading to warnings from experts that the company was putting itself at risk of the program demanding money back: 2008

Year in which the current acting head of Medicare, Marilyn Tavenner, left her job as an HCA executive: 2005

Of the 15 worst for-profit hospitals nationwide for bedsores, an indicator of inadequate staffing levels, number owned by HCA: 8

Amount that HCA's political action committee has contributed to candidates so far during the 2012 election cycle: $188,350

Percent that has gone to Republicans: 66

Amount HCA's PAC has contributed so far to the Romney campaign: $5,000

To the Obama campaign: $0

(Click on figure to go to source.)