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NEWS RELEASE
Dec 20, 2002


CONTACT: Jamie Court - 310-392-0522 x327

Leadership of Senate Should Not Go From Racist To Corporate Crook

Frist's Ownership of Columbia/HCA Should Prevent Him From Taking Leadership Post

Santa Monica, CA -- Senator Bill Frist's ownership of and entanglement with one of America's biggest corporate criminals, Columbia HCA, should prevent him from leading the US Senate, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights said today. HCA, formerly Columbia HCA, has been one the largest corporate payers of federal criminal and civil penalties in American history. Frist's family founded hospital chain Columbia HCA and he owns at least $25 million in stock. His wife owns more than $1 million in stock, according to Senate disclosure statements.

On Wednesday HCA, formerly Columbia/HCA reportedly paid more than $880 million to settle the US government's inquiry into health care fraud. In total, the company will pay more than $1.7 billion in civil and criminal penalties -- the largest amount ever in a health care fraud case. The government's case was that Columbia/HCA hospitals kept two sets of books and fraudulently billed the government.

"The Senate should not replace a racist with a principle backer of one of the largest corporate swindles ever perpetrated against the American public," said Jamie Court, executive director of FTCR. " Senator Frist should step aside because he owned and profited from one of America's worst corporate criminals. In the Senate, he has used this influence to further HCA's cause by stopping a strong patients' bill of rights, gridlocking a mandatory Medicare prescription drug benefit, and promoting caps on damages for victims who sue negligent hospitals like HCA. If Frist was a patriot first, he would have sold his HCA stock a long time ago ."

For more information on FTCR, visit www.consumerwatchdog.org






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