Finalizing a new management team to stabilize the company as it faces a growing criminal investigation, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. yesterday named a former top executive with Hospital Corp. of America as its president and chief operating officer.
The executive, Jack Bovender Jr., is a longtime colleague of Thomas Frist Jr., the former head of Hospital Corp. of America who last month was named chairman and chief executive of Columbia/HCA. Columbia acquired Hospital Corp. of America in 1994 and renamed the merged company Columbia/HCA.
Bovender, 51, is coming out of retirement to take his new job. He replaces David Vandewater, who resigned under pressure along with Richard Scott, Columbia's founder and former chairman who was replaced by Frist.
Columbia/HCA is under investigation by several federal agencies.
The criminal inquiry, which is multifaceted, is centered on contentions that the company's hospitals improperly inflated their costs in reports to the government, in turn obtaining more reimbursement than they deserved.
Last week, three executives who had worked in reimbursements for Columbia hospitals in Florida were indicted on charges of conspiring to submit fraudulent cost reports to the government.
Earlier last month, teams of federal agents raided offices and hospitals in seven states, seizing documents related to Columbia's cost-reporting practices and other matters.
Bovender said the company's efforts to cooperate with the inquiries would extend not only to federal authorities, but also to state investigators and insurers or any other third-party payers concerned about the company's practices. "We will meet all reasonable requests of the government," he said. "We don't intend to hide anything."
Pub Date: 8/05/97