COLLIER COUNTY, FL - "We are working dilligently to making sure we are among the leaders with regards to the most efficient cost structure," said Gary Newsome.
President and CEO of Health Management Associates Gary Newsome assured investors they are in the very early stages of a probe with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Their search for information is in addition to another investigation by the Department of Justice.
"An SEC investigation regarding financial statement disclosures and accounting is not at all uncommon when there are already other government investigations going on," said Newsome.
Even so, one expert who has been studying HMA since the mid-1990's, said any investigation is serious. Sheryl Skolnick said the concerns with the company are troubling.
"You also saw increases in profits which is very worry some," said Skolnick.
HMA operates five hospitals and numerous clinics in southwest Florida. Our expert said patients should be worried.
"Could lead to changes in physician referrals patterns in behavior that I think we've already begun to see."
Because doctors could skip an HMA hospital when they refer their patients.
"If a doctor has a choice from sending a patient to one facility or another, and they know that their admission practices is going to be scrutinized by Medicare or the Department of Justice, they might just send their patients someplace else," said Skolnick.