2022-02-01 17:32

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American Healthcare Centene Group In Court Over London GP Surgeries Take-Over

One of the biggest fraudulent US Healthcare companies operates in the UK

You won't see this ion TV news broadcasts

Today, 1st February 2022 sees a landmark judicial review of the takeover of London GP practices by private US healthcare company Centene Group.

The Centene Group revenues hit £45 billion in 2018 with a chief executive who pocketed £18.6 million last year.

NHS Anti-privatisation Campaign organisations, Keep Our NHS Public, 999 Call for the NHS and We Own It, spearheaded the campaign which saw the public donate generously so that the judicial review got the go-ahead last October. The NHS trade union Unite, was also involved in gathering support and funding.

The review will focus on the lack of consultation with patients, following the takeover early in 2021 by Centene’s UK subsidiary Operose Health of the privately-owned AT Medics set up in 2004 by six NHS GPs and which runs 37 GP practices across London.

Local website London Post' reports that 'The High Court will hear the case on Tuesday 1 February and Wednesday 2 February when it will consider whether the North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) acted unlawfully. The issues under the microscope include whether due diligence into the workings of Operose Health took place, and the lack of consultation with patients and other stakeholders.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said in a press release:

“This is a landmark case in the fight against the accelerating pace of privatisation of the NHS in England. Unite, with 100,000 members in the health service, fully supports the judicial review. We will not allow our GP services to be hived off to profit-hungry American private healthcare companies.

Our members, who work in the health service, want to work for the NHS and not some US private health company and Unite members who use the NHS on a daily basis want their taxes to fund it, not go to profits in the US boardroom and the pockets of their shareholders.”

Doctors in Unite are organising demonstrations on the two days concerned outside the High Court, with their chair Jackie Applebee saying:

“A favourable judgement at this judicial review could stop GP surgery privatisation in its tracks.

A key question will be why a large swathe of English general practice, including the data of nearly half a million patients, was handed over to US health insurance giant Centene with a breath-taking lack of transparency and openness.”

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers’ living standards, they say.

In addition, NHS Campaign Group, 'We Own It' says in their website campaign promoting a petition against Centene:

'Centene Corporation, an American health insurance giant, took over AT Medics, a primary care provider responsible for 49 GP surgeries and over 370,000 patients in the Greater London area, including three Carpenters Practice sites in Newham.

The following are the addresses of the three Newham surgeries:

  • Carpenters Practice at 236-252 High Street, Stratford, London E15 2JA
  • Church Road at the Centre Manor Park, 30 Church Road, London E12 6AQ
  • St Luke’s at 2 St Luke’s Square, Canning Town, London E16 1HY

Before these new acquisitions Operose Health, Centene’s UK subsidiary, was already running GP practices in Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Luton, Birmingham, etc. totalling 21 surgeries and practices. 

With a total of 70 GP surgeries and practices, Centene is almost certainly the largest single provider of NHS primary care in England. Check whether your GP surgery is now owned by Centene.

Centene is a private company, described by the Daily Mail as profit greedy, and is known for closing GP surgeries that they don't consider profitable. They've closed surgeries in Essex, Leicester and Camden.

Despite being rated "good" as recently as 2018 when they were run by local GPs, the three Newham surgeries have been rated "inadequate" by government inspectors in June 2018.'

American healthcare companies have caused more bankruptcies due to medical bills in the USA than for any other reason, and have been prosecuted for fraud because of patient treatments and surgeries that weren't needed and for fiddling patient medical data to support such diagnosis.

The largest fraud case was against a company known as HCA Inc an American private health insurance company which now also operates in the UK!

HCA UK website claims 'Today HCA is the largest private healthcare provider in the world, and the largest provider of privately funded healthcare in the UK'

In 2003 the American Dept of Justice secured a prosecution against HCA Inc that dwarfed all others; $631 million in civil penalties and damages arising from false claims the government alleged it submitted to Medicare and other federal health programs.

Prior to this in December 2000, HCA subsidiaries pled guilty to substantial criminal conduct and paid more than $840 million in criminal fines, civil restitution and penalties. Combined with today's separate administrative settlement with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), under which HCA will pay an additional $250 million to resolve overpayment claims arising from certain of its cost reporting practices, the government will have recovered $1.7 billion from HCA, by far the largest recovery ever reached by the government in a health care fraud investigation; reports the US Dept Of Justice website.

Now this Tory Government is happy to allow such criminal healthcare companies to operate and take-over the provision of NHS healthcare services, with action by previous Tory and Labour Governments since the introduction of the NHS in 1948; continually undermining the principles of free healthcare for all.

Make no mistake, the Labour Governments of 1998 and 2004 made all this possible with law changes governing the NHS. Now in 2022, the Health & Care Bill going through Parliament's both houses; will ensure the abolition of the NHS and the take-over of healthcare in England by private UK and American healthcare companies.

Source: We Own It / US Dept of Justice / London Post / Daily Mail / HCA Healthcare / Unite / Keep Our NHS Public / 999 Call for the NHS

See also: NHS Privatisation News Archive


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