In the US, rural hospitals are disappearing—83 of 2,375 have closed since 2010. Desperate to stay afloat, some are enticed by outside buyers promising to save the day with a "legally murky" billing setup, writes Barbara Feder Ostrov.
A Denver executive secured purchase of California’s struggling Surprise Valley Community Hospital, promising to pay is debts and generate revenue by billing insurers for lab testing for out-of-town patients. The practice has grown in the past year and resulted in fraud allegations in several states. “"There’s an incentive to bill for things not necessary or even services not rendered," says Karen Weintraub of Health-Care Fraud Shield.