Health Management shares fall ahead of "60 Minutes" segment

Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:11pm IST

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(Reuters) - Shares in Health Management Associates Inc fell nearly 3 percent on Friday ahead of a "60 Minutes" television segment on the hospital chain's admissions practices that will air on CBS on December 2.

According to the website for "60 Minutes," the segment will investigate allegations by doctors that the hospital chain pressured them to admit patients regardless of their medical needs.

The Naples, Florida-based hospital company, which operates 70 hospitals in 15 states, said in a statement on its website that it retained "third-party experts" to examine admissions data for individual hospitals and across the company.

"The data simply do not support the allegations," it wrote.

During a conference call on Friday morning for investors, it said its admissions practices were line with industry standards.

"A Health Management review shows there is no basis for an allegation (that) admissions through our emergency department increased," Alan Levine, a senior vice president and Florida group president at Health Management, said during the call.

Levine said he was interviewed by "60 Minutes" for the segment, and in addition to discussing the admissions practices he was questioned about the company's testing procedures.

He defended its testing procedures and said Health Management followed industry standards.

Health Management has a $2 billion market capitalization and is expected to record revenues of about $6.7 billion this year. It was founded in 1977 and is focused on small to mid-sized markets.

Shares in the company fell 3 percent, or 24 cents, to $7.83, in morning New York Stock Exchange trading.

(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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