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Discussion Response

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According to the article in New York Times, HCA was able to increase its profits using three strategies. The company used a new coding method that placed more patients in a higher-level reimbursement level and so, they were able to get more money from insurance companies and patients. They also reduced emergency room costs by screening patients. This helped them decide who qualified for services and who did not. Thirdly, they found new ways to reduce staffing costs.   

While the tough economic times certainly mandate tough measures if hospitals are to survive, still, if I were the chief executive officer of HCA, I would handle two things differently. Firstly, rather than carrying out programs that reduce the number of staffing or reject certain category of patients who really needed treatment, I would also make patient care top priority. This has to be the bedrock of operations because that is why a hospital exists in the first place, to care for people.

Secondly, given the level of investment the conglomerate has, I would explore other aspects of scaling up profits that do not affect patients directly. For instance, I would actively pursue discounts from pharmaceutical and medical technology companies. I would also focus on increasing the scale of specialist operations. Providing specialist care will reflect in the Code and billing for the quality of care given. This will result in increased revenues from the insurance companies and government.

If there are top-notch specialist hospitals within HCA, referrals within the group will keep revenues within the HCA group. I would focus on developing an incentive system that will encourage referrals within the HCA group. That way, patients can stay with HCA and any reimbursements for care will remain within HCA.  

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