Many people in Chicago were likely quite disturbed to learn about the alleged scandals involving Sacred Heart Hospital on the West Side. Last month, federal agents arrested the longtime owner of the for-profit hospital, in addition to another hospital executive and several physicians. Federal investigators believe that these people and others were involved in various kickback schemes that jeopardized the health of hospital patients and nursing home patients.
Authorities have accused the physicians and hospital of preying on the elderly and poor by ordering unnecessary and dangerous medical procedures in order to reap in profits by billing Medicaid and Medicare. Additionally, investigators believe that a scheme involving ambulance companies was used to unnecessarily admit nursing home patients to the hospital. Authorities say that at least four doctors--including one who was allegedly known as the "king of nursing homes" around the hospital--received kickbacks for referring patients to the hospital.