Last November, Dr. Prem Reddy flew to Shasta County in Northern California carrying the same bag of promises to save the nearly bankrupt Shasta Regional Medical Center as he presented two weeks ago to the people of San Leandro. In this interview, Reddy says all hospitals are different, “There is no one cookie-cutter plan we can implement,” he told KRCR TV, “Health care is local. You need to understand the local community.”
Reddy, who runs a burgeoning billion dollar health care empire in the state, says “making money is not our first priority, or, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this job. It’s a long commitment to the health care needs of the community.”
The local broadcaster in Redding hemmed Reddy on the question of the company’s unwillingness to work with managed care providers (Video of the response starts at the 9:15 mark). The reply appears to be a clever populist move to shift responsibility from providers like Prime Healthcare to Wall Street fat cats with a little garnish of pro-business Republican ethos.
“We believe managed care is not reimbursing the hospitals and providers in general–hospitals and doctors–the rates that meet the costs of health care. The costs are going up and managed care is making a lot of profits. They are increasing the premiums, but they are making profits for Wall Street, themselves and hiking the premiums to the public…Where is that premium going? It’s not going to the hospitals and doctors, it’s going in the pockets of executives of the health plans, the middle bureaucracy, which is an enormous amount of bureaucracy and wasting the premium dollars rather than in patient care. The patient is really not benefiting from the premium dollars they are paying. I want managed care to pay the providers their fair share.”
Reddy also said Prime Healthcare does not have contracts with Medicare, but will still treat those with the benefit including those who are uninsured, but at what cost, he does not say.