CEO: claims against Carlisle Regional are false - abc27 WHTM

Cumberland County

CEO: claims against Carlisle Regional are false

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Startling allegations were made Sunday evening against the Carlisle Regional Medical Center on the national news show "60 Minutes." Former doctors said they were pressured to meet a quota and admit patients for profit.

Carlisle Regional CEO John Kristel on Monday said the allegations made on the show are false and that the hospital does not set admission rates. He said data gathered from a third party shows CRMC has lower admittance rates than state and national averages.

"I know that our physicians make the appropriate decisions for our patients and it's the physicians alone. Administrators have nothing to do with the decisions our physicians are making when it comes to providing clinical care," Kristel said.

Current employees also dispute the allegations, including Dr. Howard Alster, the president of medical staff, who has worked at the hospital for 26 years. He said he had never seen doctors being pressured to meet admissions quotas.

"It's not just frustrating, I'm appalled by the misrepresentation," Alster said. "We really give it our all here."

Dr. Scott Miekley, the current medical director of the emergency department, also disputes the claims.

"It just really disappoints me and makes me very upset that a show would air that would put questions in the community's mind," Miekley said.

Still, there are two sides to this story. abc27 spoke with a former emergency department physician who said the comments heard on "60 Minutes" are true. He said when he worked at CRMC, he was "absolutely" pressured to reach admission quotas, and that it was clear that if physicians failed to do so they would be fired.

He also described an instance where an emergency room physician was called in the middle of the night by an administrator and asked why he did not admit a specific patient.

He also said that about a dozen physicians and physicians assistants left the hospital because of this issue, and that they continue to live in the area and practice emergency medicine elsewhere.

The physician also told abc27 that several former employees have been in touch with the FBI about this.

According to the "60 Minutes" report, the parent company of CRMC, Healthcare Management Associates, is under investigation for Medicare fraud.

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