HCA disputes claims of understaffing facilities to focus on profits

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare, the country's largest hospital operator, is accused of understaffing its hospitals and facilities at the expense of patient care and focuses more on making a profit, a new report claims. HCA disputes the claims.

The report from the Service Employees International Union, and highlighted by a Jan. 12 report by NBC News, says typical staffing levels at HCA facilities are approximately 30 percent below the national average. In 19 of the 20 states in which HCA operates, staffing ratios were lower than other healthcare systems in those states, the report claims.

The company, described by NBC News as a "healthcare juggernaut," employs about 284,000 people in 182 hospitals and 125 surgery centers. 

An HCA spokesperson told NBC News more than 80 percent of its hospitals received an "A" or "B" Leapfrog grade, adding that the SEIU report "cherry-picked data and anecdotes" to support its agenda.

 "The reality is, against the backdrop of a national nursing shortage exacerbated by a pandemic and continuing patient surges, HCA Healthcare's staffing is safe, appropriate, in line with other community hospitals, and in compliance with applicable regulations," the spokesperson said.

 HCA made a net profit of approximately $7 billion in 2021. The company will release its latest financial results Jan. 27.

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