HCA Holding’s stock fell about 6 percent in early trading Monday after the company disclosed that the cardiology practices at some of its Florida operations are under scrutiny by the Department of Justice.
In its second-quarter regulatory filings, and in a conference call with Wall Street analysts and investors, HCA said the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami contacted the company in July seeking information about the “medical necessity” of interventional cardiology services at approximately 10 of its hospitals, primarily in Florida.
In addition, HCA posted a notice on the company website that The New York Times was preparing “one or more articles” about the company.
With 163 hospitals stretching across the country, HCA is the largest for-profit hospital operator in the country. The news about the Justice Department inquiry and the potential articles in The Times overshadowed HCA’s second-quarter results, which showed a 71 percent increase in net income in the quarter from a year earlier. At midmorning, HCA’s stock had fallen $1.60 to $25.
In late July, The Times provided a list of questions to HCA that included inquiries about decisions made by physicians at a number of Florida hospitals involving interventional cardiology procedures. Those procedures included the implantation of stents to open clogged arteries as well as diagnostic tests. The Times also asked a number of questions about other major hospital businesses.
HCA said on the conference call and on its website that it would decline to answer further questions about the article or the subjects it may address.